Emergency Grants for Mental Health

The Williamsburg Community Foundation recently awarded its 6th round of grants from the Community Emergency Response Fund to five nonprofits.

“In this round the Distribution Committee chose to focus on emergency relief for mental health agencies,” said Corinne Garland, co-chair of the committee. “Covid-related job loss has created food and shelter insecurity for hundreds of people. The stress on individuals and families is heightened by the social isolation we are all experiencing.”

Garland further explained that, on top of these covid-related stresses, agencies providing mental health services are challenged by rising caseloads, new ways of delivering therapy, and the cancellation of major fundraising events all while they struggle to bring relief to people dealing with existential challenges. “The Community Foundation is so grateful for the community’s generosity that is helping us respond to these troubling needs,” said Garland, describing the Community Emergency Response Fund created in March and supported by hundreds of local residents.

Grants Awarded (December 2020):

  • Bacon Street Youth & Family Services: A grant of $5,000 will support Bacon Street’s substance abuse and mental health counseling for local youth and their families. The funds will be used for provide for telehealth services, as well as subsidize counseling for those who cannot afford services. Bacon Street has not only seen a marked increase in demand for services, but also increasing complexity of cases.

    Bacon Street director Kim Dellinger explains that “clients are coming to us with existing mental health and/or substance use disorders exacerbated by pressures that they have not faced before: anxiety and stress due to economic uncertainty or actual loss of income; fear of contracting the virus or grieving the loss of a loved one; and, of course, isolation from their social networks.”
  • Center for Child & Family Services Williamsburg: The Center will use their grant of $5,000 to cover the cost of individual or group counseling for residents in greater Williamsburg who are living at or below 185% of the poverty line. This might be couples, families, individuals, those facing substance abuse or domestic violence issues. Like Bacon Street, the Center offers both in-person and virtual counseling options to keep clients and staff safe.
  • Colonial Behavioral Health: As a safety-net community mental health agency, CBH will use its grant of $3,000 to provide telehealth services to individuals with behavioral health concerns. CBH serves individuals throughout the life span from children to seniors, providing “opportunities for recovery to individuals and families who are affected by mental illness, intellectual disabilities and substance use disorders,” according to David Coe, director of CBH. “Often individuals seeking our services are adults with serious mental illnesses and/or co-occurring substance use issues and youth with severe emotional disturbances” says Coe.
  • Hospice House & Support Care of Williamsburg: This grant of $5,000 will help Hospice to offer free bereavement services such as one-on-one bereavement support, weekly support groups and ongoing griefbased share groups. Hospice has responded to an increased need for this type of support, has pivoted to virtual groups, with sensitivity for the complexity of grief due to Covid-19 related deaths, and life-changing isolation.
  • Peninsula Pastoral Counseling Center: With a grant of $5,000, Peninsula Pastoral Counseling will provide additional services to help families in Williamsburg, York County, and James City County: support groups for parents who are experiencing increased stress; educational webinars for married couples to help them navigate the relationship tensions; and teen groups for those experiencing increased anxiety and depression. PPPC has seen an increase in need for mental health counseling due to Covid this year, hiring four additional counselors to respond to the need.

These grants are made possible by donors who have contributed to a fund specifically created to support local needs related to the pandemic. The Community Emergency Response Fund was created in March 2020, and approximately $230,000 has been raised for the effort so far; $165,100 has been distributed. Williamsburg Community Foundation will continue making grants from the Community Emergency Response Fund as long as there is a demonstrated need. To learn more about applying for funding, please call the office 757-259-1660 or email office@williamsburgcommunityfoundation.org.