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enCourage Kids Foundation Awarded $200,000 Mother Cabrini Health Foundation Grant to Build Mental Health Support Program for Children and Teens in the Hospital

enCourage Kids Foundation (EKF) received an initial grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation,

enCourage Kids Foundation (EKF) received an initial grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, which awards grants to meet the unmet healthcare needs of individuals, families, and communities throughout New York State. The grant will help EKF to provide vital resources to address the mental health needs and concerns of pediatric patients. The organization brings 36 years of expertise and relationships with hospitals and their staff, including child life specialists and expressive therapists.


“This grant will fund a pilot program that will support pediatric patients at city hospitals who suffer from mental health challenges, including but not limited to suicide ideation, self-harm, and depression” stated Michele Hall Duncan – President & CEO enCourage Kids Foundation. “2,500 mental health comfort kits will be given to children across 5 hospitals that are part of the NYC Health + Hospitals health system. We are grateful to have been selected for this grant and are excited to implement this program.”


Incidences of depression and anxiety are increasing, and suicide is the second leading cause of death between ages 10 and 20. COVID-19 has created a mental health crisis in the United States, especially for children living in poverty. Stay-at-home orders magnified existing trauma connected to food insecurity, housing, and healthcare. Additionally, experiences within the hospital can often be distressing for kids.


This project will support children having suicide ideation, and those who have attempted self-harm. EKF will provide comfort kits created to keep kids safe and offer support during life-changing times. The goal is to provide resources to help cope and work through feelings and trauma, as well as equip patients with tools to face the challenges that often come with hospitalization and illness. 


There are several factors that can lead to emotional distress, and comfort kits can span all diagnoses and reasons for hospital visits. EKF is committed to meeting the psychosocial needs of pediatric patients, and currently provides facilities with direct support for programs like Facility Dogs, Expressive Therapies, and Support Groups.


About Mother Cabrini Health Foundation


The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation provides grants to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable New Yorkers, bolster the health outcomes of diverse communities, eliminate barriers to care, and bridge gaps in health services.


About enCourage Kids


Since 1985, enCourage Kids Foundation has helped humanize healthcare for children and their families by resourcing impact-driven pediatric programs and supporting the child life community. Serving nearly one million children annually, enCourage Kids is focused on making hospitals a better place to get better. Our programs offer relief from the burden of treatment and hospital stays while helping pediatric facilities meet the unique needs of their patients.


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