August 24, 2017

Giving more than $1.7M to support mental health in schools

Grants to 18 community organizations will help promote resilience among teachers, school staff and students affected by trauma.

OAKLAND, Calif. — As part its ongoing commitment to improve access to mental health programs in the community and advance school-based wellness, Kaiser Permanente recently announced $1,755,000 in grants aimed at expanding the use of trauma-informed practices with a range of mental health related services and training for school staff, teachers and students. The grants will reach nearly 3,700 students and school employees.

The grants for up to $98,000 each are being awarded to 18 community-based organizations that will reach 21 public middle schools or high schools across Northern California. All of the schools being served are in high-need communities where 50 percent or more of students qualify for free or reduce-priced lunch programs.

“Research confirms that trauma not only impacts the long-term and short-term health of individuals. The ripple effect is evident in communities that are at greater risk for violence, poverty and chronic illness,” said Yener Balan, MD, FAPA, executive director of Behavioral Health in Kaiser Permanente Northern California.

“So these grants could potentially have a positive impact on more than 20,000 people while continuing our commitment to advancing trauma-informed care and our longtime work in schools with a focus on what we want to achieve: resilience,” said Dr. Balan.

Over the past four years, Kaiser Permanente has provided more than $3.2 million in grants to help increase trauma screening, augment mental health and support services for youth, expand and strengthen medical and social service referral systems, and increase understanding among the public health community about the signs and symptoms of trauma.

“The impact we can have with these grants really comes down to breaking down some of the stigma around mental health services and helping people learn to care for themselves, so they can heal and go on to lead successful, productive lives,” said Dr. Balan. “Kaiser Permanente's support will have an immeasurable but tangible impact for generations to come."

At Elsie Allen High School in Santa Rosa for example, screening surveys found that about half of students who have sought help at the health center on campus have significant histories of trauma, including physical or sexual abuse, domestic violence, parents who are addicted or incarcerated, traumatic experiences with immigration, unstable living situations and homelessness.

Kaiser Permanente Northern California recently awarded Santa Rosa Community Health, the nonprofit that runs the health center, $98,000 to support counseling services that address the impact of trauma on at-risk youth at the school and in the surrounding community. The health center is open to all teens in Santa Rosa.

“Support for teachers and staff is an essential part of our program,” said Erin Moilanen, FNP, the clinic lead for Santa Rosa Community Health’s site on the Elsie Allen High School campus in Santa Rosa. “They see our students every day, and they’re often dealing with difficult behavior. They need guidance to help the kids and support to take care of themselves.”

Among the grant recipients are:

STAND! For Families Free of Violence, to help the organization build on previous trauma-informed successes and expand its trauma-informed services to a new school in Pitttsburg (Pittsburg High School). In addition to creating a support services referral guide for students, family members, teachers and school staff, they will engage teachers year-round with trainings, consultation, and wellness activities.

Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance, to support individual mental health services for youth, classroom coaching and consultation on self-care and wellness for teachers, and implement a trauma-informed screening tool in Lakeview Middle School in Watsonville.

Santa Rosa Community Health Centers, to help the organization provided added supports at Elsie Allen High School in Santa Rosa, including creating a comprehensive school-wide service referral process, and engage the school in completing a trauma-informed assessment that will inform future work.

The complete list of grantees, schools and locations served by the grants:

  • A Better Way, at Fairfield High School, Fairfield
  • Alum Rock Counseling Services, at Lee Mathson Middle School and Overfelt High School, San Jose
  • Caminar (Family and Children Services of Silicon Valley), at Downtown College Prep-Alum Rock Middle School and KIPP Heartwood Academy, San Jose
  • Catholic Charities, at Pinole Middle School, Pinole
  • Delta Healthcare, at Stagg High School, Stockton
  • Desarrollo Familiar, Inc., at Lovonya Dejean Middle School, Richmond
  • East Bay Agency for Children, at Frick Impact Academy/Middle School, Oakland
  • Encompass Community Services, at Sequoia Schools, Freedom
  • Family Foundation Counseling, at Hamilton Elementary School, Fresno
  • Huckleberry House, at Martin Luther King Middle School and Willie L. Brown Jr. Middle School, San Francisco
  • James Moorehouse Project, at El Cerrito High School, El Cerrito
  • La Clinica De La Raza, at Roosevelt Middle School, Oakland
  • Lincoln Center, at Hillview Jr. High School, Pittsburg
  • Pajaro Valley Prevention and Students Assistance, at Lakeview Middle School, Watsonville
  • Sacramento City Unified School District: Student Services Office, at John Still School, Sacramento
  • Santa Rosa Community Health Centers, at Elsie Allen High School, Santa Rosa
  • Seneca Family of Agencies, at Hayward High School, Hayward
  • STAND! For Families Free of Violence, at Pittsburg High School, Pittsburg

For more information, visit To learn more about Thriving Schools, visit

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 11.8 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health.