The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB) is offering its annual mini-grants for youth-led projects to reduce stigma among their peers, with support from the Suicide Prevention Alliance of Northern Virginia (SPAN), which is funded by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.
The mini-grants will fund youth-planned, youth-led projects within Fairfax County, Fairfax City, and Falls Church City, to be completed by May 31, 2024. A total of $6,000 is available, for requests not to exceed $1,000 each.
“These mini-grants offer our youth the opportunity to take ownership of the positive change they’d like to see in how we discuss and engage with mental health concerns”, says Chad Christian, WHPP team’s mini grant coordinator.
"We need opportunities for our youth to grow in leadership. The youth need to be heard because their voices matter and these grants can support them as they lead the charge to reduce the stigma that is often associated with mental health concerns and aid in suicide prevention”, adds Raymond Paden, Manager of CSB Wellness, Health Promotion & Prevention services.
In addition to the goal of reducing the stigma around mental illness, the mini-grants also aim to promote help-seeking behaviors. While mental health concerns and disorders are common, open and honest discussions about them are not a common occurrence. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in youth ages 10-24. "Far too often, stigma prevents people from getting the care they need and deserve. Stigma, in addition to ongoing stressors, trauma and systemic racism, along with other factors further impacts our physical and mental health,” says Paden.
Proposals are due September 29, 2023, and awardees will be announced October 13, 2023.
For media inquiries, contact CSBCommunications@fairfaxcounty.gov.