CINCINNATI – Deaconess Associations Foundation awarded grants totaling $ 635,000 to 18 local organizations, and one of those organizations uses its money to provide mental health resources to minority communities in the tri-state.

The healthcare connection is an organization that provides health services to underserved and uninsured people in the area. They received about $ 100,000 from the Deaconess Associations Foundation and plan to use that money to hire three new psychologists for their team.

They will hire a behavioral medicine director to oversee mental health services and a case manager to deal with social determinants such as race and socioeconomic status to improve access to medical care.

The third position will be a behavioral medicine specialist at their school-based center in the Princeton School District. This specialist will help students examine mental and behavioral warning signs so they can identify problems and address them early.

“We are only just beginning to understand the challenges the pandemic has brought with it,” said Jolene Joseph, CEO of Healthcare Connection. “Physical health is not isolated from what we see of mental health and drug use, so it is incredibly important to intervene with young people early on.”

Some of the other organizations that have received part of the grant are the Behavioral Medicine Services in the Greater Cincinnati Area, Northern Kentucky Children’s Behavioral Health and Lighthouse youth and family service.