*Embargoed until 10 AM E.S.T. on September 17, 2020*

Minority Psychology Network Awarded $100,000 Grant from Booz Allen Foundation Innovation Fund

Mobile mental health unit and app will receive funding to address the mental health needs of essential workers amid COVID-19

(Santa Clarita, California, September 17, 2020). The Minority Psychology Network (MPN) is excited to announce that they have been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Booz Allen Foundation Innovation Fund. MPN, a non-profit working to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health in minority communities through education and expanded access to culturally competent behavioral health providers, will receive funding to pilot their mobile mental health unit and app. Beginning this fall, the initiative will bring free, culturally competent mental health care directly to essential workers in the Los Angeles neighborhoods where they live—connecting them to services, helping them navigate a complex system, and helping build resilience.

“We are honored that the Booz Allen Foundation Innovation Fund chose to invest in our project, and are so gratified that they’re making a strong commitment to promoting minority mental health and wellness during COVID-19 and beyond,” said Successful Brim, MPN’s founder and CEO. “Research has shown us that essential workers, who are disproportionately members of minority communities, are experiencing adverse emotional effects from this pandemic—and many minorities already face difficulty accessing mental health care.” Mobile units will offer services including—among others—limited talk therapy, screenings, and stress management workshops, while the MPN app is designed to connect visitors to the bus with available clinicians in the longer term. “Through our mobile bus and app, we’re connecting with people right where they live, and helping them understand services available to them,” Brim explained. “It’s not designed as a replacement for traditional behavioral health services, but as a way to start the conversation.” With the support of the Innovation Fund, MPN’s clinical team members will begin deploying the buses in Los Angeles this fall.

The Booz Allen Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to convening diverse stakeholders to solve challenging social issues. It established the Innovation Fund to support the development of creative solutions that address the wide-ranging impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 3,000 applications were submitted, coming from all 50 states, four U.S. territories, and Washington, D.C. The 21 winners—including MPN—selected to receive grant funding are each working to develop new solutions, systems, technology, and approaches that help build lasting community resilience by protecting vulnerable populations and frontline workers or support the safe return to work. 

Innovation Fund grant applications were reviewed by over 150 individuals during a multi-tiered evaluation process. From 3,000 applications, 30 semi-finalists were selected to virtually pitch their projects to a team of external evaluators with backgrounds in innovation, grant making and entrepreneurship. The 21 winning teams were then evaluated and approved by the Booz Allen Foundation Board.  “In this unprecedented time, we asked applicants to provide their best and brightest ideas to solve the most pressing issues caused by the pandemic—and help those vulnerable populations most impacted,” said John M. Murdock, president and co-founding board member of the Booz Allen Foundation. “The Booz Allen Foundation is honored to provide funding to a diverse set of winning teams developing high impact solutions that will not only change the world, but also provide hope.”

This award announcement also comes as MPN is celebrating the one-year anniversary of its founding in September 2019. Even with COVID-19 forcing the organization to cancel planned in-person conferences, they have hosted regular “Ask MPN” sessions and produced podcasts to connect with and support people across the country, and also began a peer counseling program designed to educate minority students on mental health. “We’ve come so far in just a year,” Brim, who is currently pursuing a doctorate in clinical forensic psychology, said. “I founded MPN with the goal of fighting the stigma surrounding mental health in minority communities—and because I know how powerful it can be, when you’re seeking support for your mental health, to see a practitioner who looks like you, and can understand your lived experience. We believe that the clinicians working on our mobile mental health unit and app can help inspire a future generation of minority providers to enter a field where they are underrepresented.”

For more information on MPN and the mobile mental health unit and app, visit http://www.theminoritypsychologynetwork.org. For a full list of Booz Allen Foundation Innovation Fund winners, visit https://boozallenfoundation.org/innovationfund/.  

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PRESS CONTACTS:

Booz Allen Foundation Innovation Fund

Amanda Allison-Martini, Allison_Amanda@bah.com

The Minority Psychology Network

Successful Brim, mpn@theminoritypsychologynetwork.org

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