A $1 million gift from the Cummings Foundation will allow Lahey Health to significantly expand its community-based behavioral health services.
“We will improve access to behavioral health services for thousands more people in the communities we serve,” said Hilary Jacobs, President of Lahey Health Behavioral Services.
The funds were recently awarded to Lahey Behavioral Health and include $150,000 annually to expand the number of mental health providers embedded in Lahey Health primary care practices.
There are currently 11 Lahey practices that staff behavioral health clinicians but this gift will allow for expansion to six more sites.
“Some patients are more comfortable seeking care in a place where they receive their routine care,” said Patrick Aquino, MD, chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Lahey Health. “They already have a relationship with their primary care provider, so it’s easier for them to open up about any behavioral health challenges they may be having in that primary care setting.”
Another $150,000 given annually will fund the Student Assistance Program (SAP), a school-based program operated by Lahey Health Behavioral Services in four public schools in Beverly, Ipswich, Gloucester and Danvers.
The SAP program provides students with access to Lahey Behavioral Health Services and staff at the schools. Some services include group counseling, teacher and parent consultations and preventative small group programs.
Approximately $33,000 of the gift will be set aside every year for fundraising initiatives such as the Lahey Health 5K Cancer Walk & Run.
“We are proud to support Lahey Health’s efforts to improve access to behavioral health services in our local communities,” said Joel Swets, Executive Director of Cummings Foundation. “It is our mission to support the organizations that are vital to the communities in which our colleagues and clients work and live.”
Joyce and Bill Cummings established the Woburn-based Cummings Foundation, Inc., in 1986 and it is now one of the largest private foundations in New England. The funds are primarily given to organizations in Middlesex, Essex and Suffolk counties, supporting a broad range of causes, including human services, education, health care and social justice.