An ‘Upstream’ Solution: NAMI’s Crisis Text Line Campaign
With CSHF’s funding support, and the assistance of local marketing company Design Rangers, the first goal has taken the form of the “Below the Surface” outreach campaign — a print and online project developed to inform youth in El Paso County about the availability of the state’s 24/7 crisis text line, and to encourage them to use the free and confidential service.
“As anyone who has or has been around teens know, texting is how they communicate,” says Jarvis. “We saw this as more of an upstream solution if we could get youth and teens comfortable with the idea of texting when they were having what felt like a tough time in their life. It didn’t have to be a suicide attempt or a truly serious mental health crisis, it just had to be youth beginning to understand that there were resources out there for them before they got to that point.”
“We hoped that we could gather more information about what’s going on with our youth and teens,” says Jarvis. “What’s on their minds? What are their triggers? What are the things that they struggle with day-to-day? Who do they rely on in their lives? But mostly, what are the overarching issues that our youth and teens are facing that are causing them to have this suicidal ideation or complete suicide?”
Sharing the data is also key to this project, she adds. “We wanted people to be able to access this information, and there is nothing proprietary about it. We really want to give people a new and different way to get into the heads of our teens and figure out what’s motivating them and what’s challenging them. What’s causing loneliness? What’s breaking their hearts?”
Jarvis is clear to note that a different type of data collection has been important too. NAMI and the Design Rangers called upon local teens who were passionate about and/or living with mental health issues to spend facilitated group time sharing their experiences and their struggles, asking questions, and giving feedback.
“Overall, we were surprised by how incredibly thoughtful their questions were,” says Jenny Schell, president of Design Rangers. “They were asking us things like: ‘Do you have to have health insurance? Is there a trained counselor or just a volunteer on the other end? Will conversations remain confidential?’ Because of their input, we realized the campaign needed a website where teens could go learn more and read FAQs.”
The teen input is key to why Jarvis says the campaign overall has been resonating so well.
“It’s genuine and authentic,” she says. “That was one of the lessons for us. It’s not fully baked until it’s teen-tested.”
“I think our community has been so traumatized about what’s gone on with teen suicides that it took us a while to get our grip and get our bearings about what might work,” Jarvis adds. “I think we’re getting closer to figuring out what some of those things might be, and we hope this text line is part of that solution, and we hope that the information that we gather, just as importantly, will be part of that solution.”
Learn more about the Below the Surface campaign at need2text.com. To reach the crisis text line, text TALK to 38255.
2018 Changes to CSHF Grantmaking
Starting in 2018, CSHF will expand one of its funding focus areas and offer multiyear grants for general operating and program requests.
School-based healthy eating/active living will broaden to “healthy environments,” an intentionally broad term that includes improvements to built environment and affordable, nutritious food access and consumption. All other funding focus areas will remain unchanged. School-based healthy eating/active living initiatives will continue to be eligible for funding given that they are a part of healthy environments.
Multiyear grant requests will also be considered starting in 2018. Organizations or existing collaborations requesting general operating or program support may request up to three years of support with a single application. If an organization or existing collaboration has received three years of continuous support of any kind, it will be required to take a two-year “time out” before re-applying. The three-year clock starts in 2018, regardless of whether an organization or collaboration has received CSHF funding before. Capacity-building/technical assistance and capital requests are limited to one-year only.
The next general funding opportunity will open in early December with an application deadline of Jan. 25, 2018. Applications for capacity-building/technical assistance or fostering collaboration funding are accepted at anytime.
To learn more details about our grant opportunities, funding focus areas and/or our multiyear funding parameters, please see our website at cshf.net/grant seekers/
In partnership with Colorado Health Institute, CSHF developed the dashboard as part of its evaluation framework. The indicators reflected on the dashboard tie to CSHF’s mission, vision and funding focus areas.
Monitoring select community health indices provides our board and staff with a high-level understanding of our region’s health status. These quantitative data will will be combined with qualitative data gleaned from focus groups, funded partner interviews and final 2016 grant reports to inform CSHF strategy; assess alignment between grantmaking intentions and results; and drive learning both within the Foundation and more broadly.
Managing Conflicts of Interest, Perceived or Real
Good board governance calls for close attention to conflicts of interest through adopted and applied policy and practice.
Colorado Springs Health Foundation takes seriously conflict of interest, and we thought it might be helpful to explain how our policy is applied. First, the Foundation is required to uphold the City of Colorado Springs’s Code of Ethics, and the full board and staff receive annual training on this from the City Attorney’s office. The Foundation’s COI policy is designed to address both real and perceived conflicts, which is important because so many of our board members are community-involved and could be reviewing grants or making business decisions related to these relationships.
Our process requires that any trustee or staff member with a perceived or real conflict must first disclose the conflict and then recuse her/himself from not only any decision on a related matter but also from the discussion. Recusal involves leaving the room. Disclosures and recusals are documented.
Though it can result in a lot of coming and going during a board meeting, it helps ensure that the decision-makers, and more importantly, the decisions are not influenced by a real or perceived conflict.
What We’re Reading Now
A lot about the opioid crisis. Here are a few interesting resources:
The Distress Index is an interesting way to view communities in need based on some social determinants of health. You may search by zip or county or congressional district. Check out the searchable/interactive map produced by Economic Innovation Group. http://eig.org/2017-dci-map-national-zip-code-map
And, if you’d like a little nourishment for the soul, we highly suggest listening to Krista Tippet’s 2008 interview with poet/philosopher John O’Donahue via her On Being podcast: https://onbeing.org/programs/john-odonohue-the-inner-landscape-of-beauty/. Suffice to say that he speaks to so much of what ails us in this current age, touching on relationship, isolation, beauty, leadership, connection, grace, landscape. Though “health” doesn’t appear once in the previous listing of words, our health is intrinsically tied to much of this. Especially for those of you working so hard on mission-based work, well, this might just be a lovely way to refresh your heart and mind. It was for us.