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Premera Blue Cross Invests $3 Million to Bridge Gaps in Mental Health, Health Equity Access in Washington, Alaska

·4 min read

Mountlake Terrace, Wash., Aug. 15, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Premera Blue Cross through its Social Impact program today announced an additional $3 million in grants and sponsorships committed to 20 organizations across Washington and Alaska. This expands on the company’s continued philanthropic work focused on addressing health inequities, issues with mental health conditions and substance use disorder, and how those conditions intersect with homelessness.

 

“People from all communities can struggle, but we understand historically marginalized populations and rural communities in particular often experience unique barriers to accessing care,” said Paul Hollie, head of Premera Social Impact. “There usually isn’t just one right answer, which is why we collaborate with nonprofit organizations tackling these issues from all angles. They have one thing in common, though – a community-driven approach that helps keep youths, older adults, and all ages in between connected to tailored care in their area.”

 

Grant recipients include:

  • Helping Hands Project Organization in Snohomish County, Wash., received $125,000 to renovate a facility that will help them better serve individuals with mental health issues, substance use disorder, or co-occurring disorders. Prioritizing adults over the age of 60 who identify as people of color and are experiencing homelessness or unstable housing, their holistic style of care helps people in crisis navigate social services and reintegrate into the community.

  • HopeSource received $250,000 to address youth homelessness in rural Kittitas County, Wash., by constructing a 19-unit transitional housing property for 18-to-24-year-olds. Operating the only emergency homeless shelter in the county, this marks a critical expansion of their services. HopeSource case managers will work with residents on housing stability, employment, education, and mental and physical health support.

  • Jumping Mouse Children’s Center in Jefferson County, Wash., received $100,000 to invest in support and continued master’s-level education for their staff. As the region’s only mental health clinic dedicated to young children, this commitment is critical to staff retention, continued expansion into local schools, and attracting more therapists to their rural community.

  • NAMI Alaska received $75,000 to expand their mental health work to reach underserved populations in rural and remote communities in Alaska. NAMI found nearly 40 percent of Alaskans live in an area with limited mental health services. This investment will support the development of online support groups, training rural-based teachers to facilitate classes, and other culturally appropriate programs.

  • NAMI Spokane received $100,000 to implement a new mental health navigation service and decrease preventable consequences of untreated mental health conditions, such as homelessness, hospitalizations, and justice involvement. Through early intervention efforts, this investment will help NAMI Spokane reach people before they are in a mental health crisis and keep them connected to stable care and services.

  • Somali Health Board received $150,000 to further expand mental health outreach and education in King County’s Somali community. Attuned to the lingering trauma refugees may experience from fleeing their country, Somali Health Board develops culturally relevant programming including new youth cohort meetings focused on mental health education, support groups for parents of youth experiencing mental health issues, and online content.

  • Sultana New Ventures, LLC - Recover Alaska received $150,000 to support mental health workforce development in partnership with University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). A continued lack of qualified providers prevents Alaskans from accessing timely mental health services – a shortage more severely impacting Alaska Natives in rural and remote communities. Together they aim to increase enrollment in UAA’s Master of Social Work program by 10 additional students this year with a focus on recruiting from underrepresented communities.

 

Additional grant and sponsorship investments include:

  • Byrd Barr Place, King County, Wash.

  • Childhaven, King County, Wash.

  • City Year, King County, Wash.

  • Fosterful, Kitsap County, Wash.

  • Latino Civic Alliance, King County, Wash.

  • Providence Alaska, Anchorage Borough, Alaska

  • Providence Institute for a Healthier Community, Snohomish County, Wash.

  • Seattle Out & Proud Foundation, King County, Wash.

  • United Way of Pierce County, Pierce County, Wash.

  • Wellspring Family Services, King County, Wash.

  • WithinReach, King County, Wash.

  • YMCA of Greater Seattle, King County, Wash.

  • Youth Eastside Services, King County, Wash.

 

Since 2017, Premera Social Impact has committed more than $80 million and countless hours toward supporting historically underserved communities in Washington and Alaska. To learn more about Premera Social Impact, read the company's Social Impact Report.

About Premera Blue Cross

Premera Blue Cross, a not-for-profit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association based in Mountlake Terrace, Wash., is a leading health plan in the Pacific Northwest, providing comprehensive health benefits and tailored services to more than 2.75 million people, from individuals to Fortune 100 companies. For more information, visit www.premera.com.

CONTACT: Amanda Lansford Premera Blue Cross 425-918-3975 amanda.lansford@premera.com