SSW's Promise Heights and Institute for Innovations Partners in $5 Million SAMHSA Grant to Imple

The Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) has announced that it has been awarded a five-year, $5 million grant by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Mental Health Services for the Resiliency in Communities After Stress and Trauma (ReCAST) program. The goal of ReCAST is to empower local community collaboration to assist high-risk youth and families in communities that have recently faced civil unrest through evidence-based violence prevention, community youth engagement, and trauma-informed behavioral health services.

ReCAST West Baltimore, which aims to reduce the impact of trauma and build resilience in Central West Baltimore so that young people can complete school and engage in the workforce, will serve three communities adversely impacted by the April 2015 unrest: Sandtown-Winchester, Penn North, and Upton/Druid Heights. The School of Social Work's Promise Heights Initiative and Institute for Innovations and Implementation are partners in the effort. The SSW's portion of the grant, $200,000, will help pay for project staff support and evaluators on the project.

“Decades of poverty, neglect, racism, and widespread disparity have resulted in generations of Baltimoreans suffering from the effects trauma in communities across our city. We must recognize, treat, and prevent trauma,” said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen. “Through this grant, we will be able to directly engage and support our most valuable resources: our communities and our residents. Together, we will provide thousands of Baltimore residents with the tools and supports necessary to break systemic cycles of trauma and create a healthy, resilient, and well city.”

Specifically, the program will implement high-quality, trauma-informed, community-based services—including youth and community organizing, mentoring programs, youth development, yoga/mindfulness activities, and healing circles—across multiple sectors in order to:

  • Promote connectedness and resilience in youth;

  • Increase community cohesion; and

  • Link community-based organizations, youth leaders, and community residents with larger private and public institutions to create a support network and to increase access to resources.

You can read more about the grant here:

Baltimore Sun Story:

Photo Caption: Students ponder solutions to the violence in West Baltimore during a youth forum last Feburary at Bethel AME Church in Baltimore. The forum was organized by a coalition of community groups that won a $75,000 grant to develop a youth violence prevention plan after being featured in a Baltimore Sun series on the hidden impacts of crime and violence. (Christopher T. Assaf - Baltimore Sun)