More News:

July 13, 2023

Philly nonprofits get $6.55 million to address youth mental health crisis

The Pew Charitable Trusts will distribute the grant money between five local groups; recent national reports indicate alarming trends of depression among kids

Donations Mental Health
Pew Youth Mental Health @cctckids/Facebook

Most of the money will go to the Children's Crisis Treatment Center, which offers trauma and behavioral programs at its Fishtown office.

Philadelphia nonprofits that provide children's mental health services just got a $6.55 million boost from Pew Charitable Trusts, the NGO announced Thursday.

Pew will split the grant money between five organizations "to make critically needed mental and behavioral health services more accessible" to kids and teens. The Children's Crisis Treatment Center, a group that addresses mental and behavioral needs in kids as young as 2, will claim the bulk of the funds, receiving $4 million over five years to build a new outpatient clinic in North Philadelphia, where a third of its patients live.

The Center for Families and Relationships will receive $1.8 million over five years to expand to two new physical locations — one in Philly and another in the surrounding counties — with the goal of doubling its annual client base to 4,000. The remaining three groups — Child Guidance Resource Centers, Philadelphia's Children's Alliance and the Pediatric Anxiety Treatment Center at Hall-Mercer — will receive $250,000 over the course of two years.

“Philadelphia’s children deserve the very best care to support their emotional well-being and help them thrive, particularly in light of the challenges they have faced during the pandemic," Kristin Romens, project director of the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Fund for Health and Human Services, said in a press release. "It’s imperative that we invest in making specialized services more widely available and accessible to those who need them most."

Romens cited a need for more "culturally relevant, multilingual, and trauma-informed approaches" to youth mental health. The Child Guidance Resource Centers plans to use its funding, in part, to revamp its intern recruitment program to attract more candidates of color and first-generation college students. Penn Medicine's PATCH will aim to expand specialized anxiety treatments to local Black and Latino youth and form a family advisory board to inform patient recruitment and support.

The Philadelphia Children's Alliance plans to use its grant to develop and offer specialized treatment to children under 10 who display "problematic sexual behavior," often after being abused.

The funding announcement follows several troubling reports on children's mental health. Earlier this year, the CDC released "alarming" findings on youth risk behavior, based on surveys of over 17,000 American high school students. In the report, over 40% of students said feelings of sadness kept them from their regular activities at least two weeks of the year and 22% seriously considered suicide. The trends were particularly dire among teen girls, over half of whom reported feeling persistently sad or hopeless in 2021.

Experts have been sounding the alarm on children's mental health for years now, linking worsening trends to the isolation and disruption that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, several national pediatric groups declared a state of emergency in children's mental health. Pew said mental health services were especially "critical" in Philadelphia, where more than a third of young people live in poverty.

Follow Kristin & PhillyVoice on Twitter: @kristin_hunt | @thePhillyVoice
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice
Have a news tip? Let us know.