In 2017, the Douglas County Mental Health Initiative, in coordination with law enforcement partners, began Community Response Teams to address mental health needs in the community. Building on the success of these teams, the Board in September 2022 dedicated $1.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to grants for local organizations’ innovative work within suicide prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery. A call for proposals went out in January 2023, resulting in 12 proposals.
Proposals covered services and approaches, including animal-assisted mentoring, youth leadership development, post-partum peer support, and direct treatment programs – all that spanned the spectrum from prevention to intervention and recovery. The County convened a grant review committee with representatives from the County, Douglas County Health Department, Douglas County School District, Centura Health and AllHealth Network to evaluate and score each application, which resulted in the recommendation to fund seven proposals for $1.37 million. The funding will be distributed over three years, based on performance.
Data has indicated suicide disproportionally affects middle-aged men. As a result, the Board is also allocating $127,830 of the original $1.5 million to programs for men and veterans, including a grant to the Dads of Castle Rock for Mental Health First Aid Training.
Established in 2014, the Douglas County Mental Health Initiative has convened more than 50 partner organizations to improve the overall mental health of Douglas County, including suicide prevention. In 2021, the County’s Public Health Improvement Plan – a first step in launching the Douglas County Health Department – reconfirmed mental and behavioral health as one of the top three health needs in Douglas County.
Douglas County received $68.2 million in ARPA funding. Learn more about this and other ARPA funding allocations online.