After-school programs at 28 Houston-area schools are getting a mental health component, thanks to $1 million in grants from the iconic editor of Cosmopolitan magazine and her husband.
Amid a rousing performance by the Kashmere High School "Thunder Soul" marching band, more than 150 Houstonians representing education, mental health and nonprofit organizations recently gathered at the TMC Innovation Institute in the Texas Medical Center to learn about the innovative program called BridgeUp at Menninger.
The renowned Menninger Clinic will oversee the program, which will address the social, emotional and mental well-being of vulnerable middle school students whose lives have been challenged by economic, health and family hardships. Seven organizations will receive grants to implement the program — Connect to Character After-School and Summer Program, Kashmere Community BridgeUp Model, Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Houston, Breakthrough Houston, Pasadena ISD, Project GRAD Houston, Workshop Houston.
Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and Bill Kelly, director of governmental affairs for the City of Houston, were on hand, along with Dr. C. Edward Coffey, Menninger’s president and CEO, to announce the program, which will impact 1,400 students in Kashmere Gardens, Near Northside, Pasadena, Sharpstown, Spring Branch and Third Ward.
“It’s good that we’re focusing on mental health. Now we recognize mental health for what it is…it’s just another part of health," Emmett said. "An organization like BridgeUp plays a critical role because there are so many people that want to help others deal with mental health. This program and these announcements are huge stride."
“Through the support of BridgeUp and Menninger and the focus on early intervention, everyone should celebrate the ability for people to access badly needed mental health services. Investments in early intervention are the smartest dollars that we can spend on treatment," Kelly said.
Funding for BridgeUp at Menninger is made possible through a $7.5 million nationwide grant awarded to Menninger by the David and Helen Gurley Brown Trust. Helen Gurley Brown, who died in 2012 at the age of 90, was the iconic editor of Cosmopolitan magazine for 32 years.Her husband, David Brown, a Menninger trustee for 18 years before he died in 2010, was a film and theater roducer best known for Jaws, Driving Miss Daisy, and The Verdict.