St. Louis County seeking proposals to address mental health, youth substance abuse and food insecurity

Updated: August 05, 2020 06:27 PM

St. Louis County is seeking proposals to address mental health, youth substance abuse and food insecurity in the Northland.


When a community health assessment was done for the county in 2019, it identified mental health, youth substance abuse, and food insecurity as three priority areas of focus.

"We were seeing data in the food insecurity area for example and 44 percent of households with children, participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Program or SNAP," said Linnea Mirsch, the director of St. Louis County's Public & Human Services.

This is why St. Louis County Public Health is seeking proposals from community-based organizations within the county to help address the issues. They are doing this by offering funding support of $20,000 to $100,000 for projects or initiatives that directly address those health priorities.

"As a public health system part of our responsibility is to really work strategically to advance the public health through meeting these kind of underlying challenges and issues," said Mirsch.

The county is asking for projects to be innovative and prevention-focused. Projects must also be within St. Louis County and serve residents within St. Louis County, and take place between Oct. 1, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2021.

"So much of our focus has shifted to the pandemic these last few months, but we can't forget there are still many other community health priorities," said Public Health Division Director Amy Westbrook. "Much of the work we do is in partnership with organizations and agencies across the county, and this is another example of how we can work together to promote healthy communities in St. Louis County.”

There has been interest already from community organizations like Bridging Health Duluth.

"It's a great opportunity to generate some new ideas and innovative strategies to address these health issues," said Emily Anderson, the community health director for Essentia Health.

Anderson said Bridging Health Duluth has several efforts in the community to address these ongoing issues and hope the funding can be a help to those projects.

"We are working on a farm to school program, working with the Lincoln Park Middle School on some healthy food programming. We're also doing a project around the social determinants of health and including transportation, financial strain, as well as food insecurity," said Anderson.

They also have initiatives focusing on mental health and vaping education for youth and look forward to seeing what they can do with the county to make a difference.

"I think it's more important now than ever for us to be collaborating with limited resources available in our community to make the best use of funds to make the biggest impact on health," said Anderson.

Full details on eligibility requirements and how to apply can be found here.

The deadline to submit a proposal is Aug. 30.

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