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NYS Office of Mental Health announces availibility of $105,000 in funding for stigma reduction projects

The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) today announced the availability of up to $105,000 in grant funding for projects that help reduce the stigma often associated with mental illness.

Funding is provided through the voluntary tax check-off program launched in 2016, which allows taxpayers to contribute easily to the ‘Mental Illness Anti-Stigma Fund’ when filing their NYS taxes.

OMH Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “The stigma unfairly applied to people living with mental illness often robs them of the opportunities many of us take for granted, including a good job, suitable and safe housing and appropriate health care. Stigma also discourages people with mental illness from seeking the help they need to address their health issues. OMH is actively working to reduce the negativity surrounding mental illness, and this funding, generously donated by New Yorkers, will support that mission and help our partners in communities across the state provide hope for individuals who are working towards recovery.”

OMH will award up to $15,000 to support stigma-reduction projects across the state. Agencies selected for funding must have at least one year of experience serving persons with mental illness and be recognized for their work serving underserved, under-represented and/or minority populations.

Eligible activities include but are not limited to: targeted messaging and advertising, production of printed materials, speakers, training, contact with people with lived experience, and multimedia productions. Funding cannot be used to cover the cost of food, conference travel, or other purchases precluded by law or regulation.

In order to be considered, projects need to address one or more of the goals below:

Educational Activities – Anti-stigma activities taking place in educational institutions, including colleges and universities, some of which deny admission to people due to their mental health histories. This includes the creation of materials to correct inaccurate depictions of mental illness, which can prevent students with mental illness from fully participating in the educational experience.
Underserved Populations – Activities that provide innovative, culturally relevant approaches to reducing stigma in underserved populations.
Housing – Activities intended to combat stigma and discrimination in housing which prevent people with mental illness from obtaining and maintaining safe and affordable housing. Targeted audiences may include landlords, homeowners, management companies serving landlords and owners, building superintends and billing/rent collection personnel.
Employment – Activities intended to combat stigma and discrimination in the workplace which make it difficult for people living with mental illness to find and keep meaningful jobs. Targeted audiences may include corporate employers, Department of Labor representatives and employment/staffing agencies.
Parenting – Activities intended to combat the stigma and discrimination experienced by individuals with mental illness who are also parents.
Media – Activities intended to combat the stigma, discrimination, and negative stereotypes in the media. This could also include social media.
Health Care – Activities intended to combat stigma and discrimination in the health care system that leads to people with mental illness not receiving the health care they need.

OMH will review proposals for completeness, messaging and alignment with the desired, measurable outcomes of reducing public and self-stigma and promoting positive attitudes among targeted audiences and the general public.

Projects selected for funding will receive a 75 percent advance of the funding for their project. All projects are to be completed between 6/1/2022 and 5/31/2023.

More information on proposal requirements is available from: [email protected].

The Office of Mental Health must receive complete proposals by 4/02/2022. Please email submissions to Carol Swiderski at [email protected].