The Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas has announced 41 initiatives in Arkansas will receive grants totaling $3,360,327, that will directly impact 71 of Arkansas’s 75 counties, including Chicot. The Blue & You Foundation is a charitable foundation established and funded by Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield to promote better health in the Natural State.

Locally, Arkansas Rural Health Partnership in Lake Village will receive $150,000 to increase mental health resources for 12- to 18-year-olds living in rural parts of the state. At least 5,200 people will be trained to provide mental health and suicide prevention assistance.

“Eleven of our grants this year focus on education for medical professionals and eight grants address behavioral health, issues that are extremely important to the health of all Arkansans,” said Rebecca Pittillo, executive director of the Blue & You Foundation. “Ten of our grants will reach Arkansans statewide. And because we are very aware of the need for more health equity within our state, eight of our grants focus specifically on minority populations.”

The need for qualified healthcare workers and better access to behavioral health services continue to grow in Arkansas. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five adults experiences mental illness. And according to the latest state report on healthcare licensures in Arkansas, there were seven counties in the state that only had one primary care physician in 2019, and several had no dentists.

“The Blue & You Foundation has been focused for the past two years on supporting urgent needs that arose due to the pandemic,” said Pittillo. “The COVID-19 pandemic definitely elevated new health-related needs and emphasized existing needs in our state – social determinants that we hope these grants will positively impact.”

Since 2001, the Blue & You Foundation has awarded more than $45 million to nonprofits and governmental agencies in all 75 counties. Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted April 15 through July 15, 2022. Grants will range from $5,000 to $150,000. Blue & You Foundation training sessions for grant writing will be offered in March of 2022. For more information on trainings and the Blue & You grant process, visit blueandyoufoundationarkansas.org.