Grantee Spotlight With Mechancisburg Area Foundation: Please Live

In 2016, the Mechanicsburg Area Foundation, a regional foundation of the Foundation for Enhancing Communities, was pleased to award $1,372.00 to Please Live for its youth focused suicide prevention and awareness program, “STOMP – Student/Teen Outreach for Mental (Illness) Prevention”. Through this award, Please Live was able to provide the STOMP – Student/Teen Outreach for Mental (Illness) Prevention program to both Mechanicsburg Area High School and Cumberland Valley High School, reaching over 500 students and 40 school staff.

Designed to address the growing incidents of mental illness and suicide among teens, this comprehensive educational program utilizes three supporting activities to address the growing incidents of mental illness and suicide among teens. The program works to tackle educational gaps and stigmas related to mental illness, reach at-risk teens, and help connect families, students, and teachers with local resources in a friendly, unobtrusive way. In Stage One of the program, Please Live provides Youth Mental Health First Aid, an evidence-based nationally recognized mental health training to faculty in the two schools. This training works to assist school faculty in recognizing the warning signs of student depression, while Stage Two focuses on student education. Students are taught to address such questions as “What is a mental illness?”, “What are the signs of depression and anxiety?” and “Where can I go for help?” In addition, Stage Two seeks to break down stigmas, empowers students to seek help, and teaches students how to identify signs of depression or suicide as well as refer friends who may be struggling. The final part of the STOMP program, Stage Three, is a Mental Health Fair. This fair gathers local agencies together and provides resources for teens and families, generates referrals, enhances agency collaborations, and highlights mental health issues in a respectful, compassionate way.

Please Live was formed in 2010 by Executive Director, Alexa Moody, in response to a cluster of youth suicides in the Capital Region and Ms. Moody’s own battle with depression and suicidal thoughts as a youth. Today, Please Live collaborates with numerous local suicide prevention agencies and Ms. Moody is pleased to state, “Please Live continues to cultivate mental wellness through education and awareness of youth and young adult mental health challenges, focusing primarily on depression, anxiety, and suicide. We are grateful for the support provided by the Mechanicsburg Area Foundation and the impact that these grant funds have had in supporting mental health awareness education for our area teens and educators. Together we are working to remove the stigma of mental health while providing youths with the tools they need to not only help others, but to recognize symptoms in themselves, while providing key next steps before suicide seems to be a youth’s only option.” Nationally, suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth aged 15-24 and half of all lifetime cases of mental disorders begin by age 14. Please Live works to address and provide help for those in need; to learn more, visit www.pleaselive.org.

About the Mechanicsburg Area Foundation

The Mechanicsburg Area Foundation (MAF), a regional foundation of TFEC, conducts an annual competitive grantmaking program for nonprofit organizations serving the Mechanicsburg zip codes of 17050 and 17055. MAF seeks to fund programs and services that have the potential for the greatest impact on the quality of life and positive outcomes for individuals and families living in the Mechanicsburg area. MAF requires that applicant organizations be aligned with one or more of the following funding priorities: arts and culture, community development, education, environment, and health and human services. MAF also welcomes grant applications that address civic interests in Mechanicsburg, hospice services, and degenerative disease services. The maximum grant is $12,000; in 2017 grant awards ranged from $2,000-$8,037.

Click here for more information on applying to this or any of TFEC’s grant opportunities.