Treetops Collective addresses refugee mental health

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Tarah Carnahan Treetops Collective

A local nonprofit focused on building community and stability for refugees and New Americans is using federal funding to create a consortium of local experts to provide mental health services.

Grand Rapids-based Treetops Collective last week said it will use CARES Act funding to partner in 2021 with like-minded agencies, clinical professionals and community leaders who are dedicated to improving the lives and well-being of the refugee and New American populations, including Safe Haven Ministries, Grand Rapids Specialty Therapy, The Alignment Principle, Dilli Gautam, Fridah Kanini and Fisk Solutions, to create a consortium of resources for mental health services.

The organization, which currently provides group workshops, cross-cultural partnerships and a resource network, has recognized the need for increased access to mental health care amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic has highlighted the gaps in the services that are available to refugees … since (they) face particular barriers to receiving these services, including cultural stigmas, language and transportation barriers, and health insurance,” said Tarah Carnahan, executive director of Treetops Collective.

This month, representatives from each organization in the consortium will plan and schedule clinical service offerings for the refugee and New American communities with Treetops Collective. Services will include individual and group therapy, educational sessions, increasing access to interpreters, and exploring partnerships with local school and business communities to reach students and families. Implementation of planned services will begin early this year.

The launch of the consortium coincides with the start of Treetops Collective’s new 15-month Concentric program designed to “equip New American leaders with the tools to assess the needs of their language and ethnic communities and connect members to appropriate resources throughout West Michigan.”

Concentric will include access to the mental health services provided through consortium members, to broaden the scope and reach, as well as encourage program sustainability.

More information about Treetops Collective is at treetopscollective.org.

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