Mental Health Grant Making Elements
March 8, 2021

Mental Health Grant Making Elements

What We Look For: Mental & Behavioral Health

In the latest What We Look for blog series, we are focusing on grants related to Mental and Behavioral Health. Keep in mind that these posts are generalities, and are not representative of all grants that fall into this portfolio.

About Mental & Behavioral Health
The Foundation works to expand access to mental and behavioral health services for children and youth by supporting organizations that provide counseling and therapy to families at the local level.

The Foundation supports organizations that provide traditional and nontraditional (equine facilitated counseling, play therapy, etc.) therapies with an emphasis on trauma-informed care and measurement-based care. Additionally, the Foundation is interested in early diagnosis of mental health disorders through the integration of screenings performed by a child’s primary care provider during annual check-ups.

The Foundation supports organizations that provide counseling and therapy in community-friendly, easily-accessible locations. The Foundation also seeks to partner with organizations that provide therapeutic services to individuals coping with more complex mental health conditions.

The Foundation’s focus in behavioral and mental health is primarily:

  • Supporting organizations that firstly deliver mental health services
  • Promoting Measurement-Based Care for treatment of depression and other mental health conditions
  • Increasing access to mental health care in diverse settings such as community-based organizations and primary care providers

Organization Qualities

If an organization practices any of the following, it should include relevant details in the grant request and share how its clients benefit from such practices:

  • Use a trauma-informed approach
    • Ideally, a trauma-informed approach would be integrated not only into clinical practice, but throughout the entire organization i.e., where appropriate, all staff members receive training in trauma-informed care
  • Consistently use the most effective evidence-based practices for a particular client
    • Ideally, clinical staff have enough depth of training and experience to determine the best modalities to use specific to a client’s needs in order to ensure the greatest short- and long-term outcomes
  • Use Measurement-Based Care
    • For Foundation purposes, Measurement-Based Care is described as the practice of grounding clinical mental health care on patient data collected throughout the course of treatment. The feedback, obtained from assessing, treating, and regularly reviewing progress on symptom rating scales, guides treatment in order to achieve the best possible outcome for patients.
  • Conduct regular case reviews among clinical and other pertinent staff
  • Provide direct referrals and/or care for children with acute behavioral health needs

Build on the Details

A high level of nitty-gritty detail in regard to programming might seem superfluous, but providing this level of detail in a grant request helps us better tailor a grant to an organization’s programming and needs. Details provide us with valuable insight into a client’s experience as well as the impact within the community.

We encourage organizations to provide ample detail on the following:

  • Client case load – overall and per clinical staff member
    • How is this compared to the industry average?
    • Is there a waitlist for programming?
    • What is the ideal case load for the organization and how can the organization get there?
  • Client completion rates – how many clients started the program and how many successfully completed their treatment plan?
    • Are there external factors preventing clients from completing their treatment plans? If so, how is the organization remedying this?
    • What happens after a client completes his or her treatment plan?
  • Professional development – how professional development and case reviews help to improve patient care and outcomes
    • How often are case reviews occurring?
    • Does the organization have a supervisor on staff? What is the supervisor to clinical professional ratio?
    • Does the organization provide staff with opportunities for professional development? If so, what kind of professional development? Is it required?
    • How do professional development efforts improve patient care? How is the organization tracking or monitoring this?
  • Long-term outcomes
    • Does the organization follow clients once they leave the program to monitor their long-term outcomes? If so, what does the data show? Are remission rates tracked?
    • What continued support does the organization offer to help clients from relapsing or worsening mental health outcomes?

Additional Tips

Organizations supported by the Foundation excel in their fields by providing high-quality, tailored care to their clientele. Additionally, the Foundation seeks organizations with unique factors that distinguish it from its peers. Therefore, organizations should use their grant request as an opportunity to explain what makes them unique and successful, for instance:

  • Tell us about program success
    • What is unique about the organization’s approach, and how does that translate into quality programming?
    • How is the organization tracking its programming effectiveness?
    • What steps are taken to improve or innovate programming?
  • Describe how mental and behavioral health services are reinforced by other efforts
    • What efforts does the organization employ to reinforce programming to address the “whole person” (mind, body, and spirit)?
    • Is the programming located in a community space or clinic where other social services are provided?
    • Does the organization refer its clients to other services that would be helpful? What partnerships does the organization have in order to do so successfully?

The Future of Mental & Behavioral Health

The Foundation believes that the future of mental and behavioral health will take a “whole-person” approach that is both community-based and integrated into primary care settings. Therefore, it would be beneficial to include how the organization is innovating its programming – especially as it relates to:

  • How the organization is community-based, or has established, working partnerships with other organizations or service providers in the community
  • If the organization is already or plans to be integrated with primary care providers, what the relationship looks like or will look like and how clients are or will be better served through such a relationship
  • How the organization decreases barriers to access behavioral health services alongside mental health services and through primary care settings
  • How the organization address the “whole-person” through counseling services – body, mind and spirit
  • How the organization takes a dual-generational approach to engage the family (parents, siblings, etc.) in a child’s healing process
  • How the organization adapts to new technology innovations in order to drive accessibility – telehealth for example

Hopefully this information is helpful as you begin to consider submitting a grant request to the Foundation. Please keep the Foundation’s eligibility requirements in mind. Organizations applying for funding must have a 501(c)3 nonprofit designation from the IRS. The Foundation’s focus is on organizations that serve the North Texas community. Organizations that operate internationally are asked to apply by invitation only. The Foundation only considers grants that fall into our areas of interest, which can be found here:

For more information about the grant making process, the online portal, or to preview the different types of applications and their questions, please visit our online Grantee Portal Help Guide, which is updated regularly.

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Category: Grant Writing Tips
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