Burlington, MA (April 30, 2018) – Lahey Health has announced a three-year, $1 million gift from Cummings Foundation. This gift will support several initiatives to increase access to behavioral health services in the community, including the integration of behavioral health professionals into Lahey Health primary care practices and Lahey Health Behavioral Services’ Student Assistance Program, which provides school-based support and services to students who experience academic, social or behavioral challenges.
“This generous gift from Cummings Foundation will enable us to more than double the number of behavioral health clinicians in community settings across the Lahey network,” said Hilary Jacobs, President, Lahey Health Behavioral Services. “As a result, we will improve access to behavioral health services for thousands more people in the communities we serve.”
Cummings Foundation will provide $150,000 annually to expand the number of behavioral health providers embedded in Lahey Health primary care practices. Integrated behavioral health services are currently available on-site at 11 Lahey Health community primary care practices, offering patients access to a behavioral health provider in the same setting where they receive their primary care. This gift will allow Lahey Health to expand this effort to six additional practices.
“We’ve made a lot of progress fighting the stigma attached to mental illness, but many patients still worry about being judged for needing help,” said Patrick Aquino, MD, chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Lahey Health. “Some patients are more comfortable seeking care in a place where they receive their routine care. They already have a relationship with their primary care provider, so it’s easier for them to open up about any behavioral health challenges they may be having in that primary care setting.”
The foundation will also provide $150,000 annually to support the Student Assistance Program (SAP), a school-based program operated by Lahey Health Behavioral Services in four public schools in Beverly, Ipswich, Gloucester and Danvers. Mental health counselors from Lahey Health Behavioral Services are embedded in each partner school and provide individual and group counseling, teacher or parent consultations and preventative small group programming. Counselors are also able to connect students to appropriate community resources should they be needed.
In addition, approximately $33,000 of the gift will be earmarked each year to support Lahey Health fundraising initiatives including the Lahey Health 5K Cancer Walk & Run.
“We are proud to support Lahey Health’s efforts to improve access to behavioral health services in our local communities,” said Joel Swets, Executive Director of Cummings Foundation. “It is our mission to support the organizations that are vital to the communities in which our colleagues and clients work and live.”
Joyce and Bill Cummings established the Woburn-based Cummings Foundation, Inc., in 1986 and it is now one of the largest private foundations in New England. Nearly all of the buildings managed by Cummings Properties are owned by and operated for the sole benefit of Cummings Foundation. The foundation’s giving is focused in Middlesex, Essex and Suffolk counties and benefits a broad range of causes, including human services, education, health care and social justice. For additional information visit www.cummingsfoundation.org.
About Lahey Health
Lahey Health is an integrated health care system committed to providing the full continuum of health care services close to where patients live and work. The system is comprised of nationally recognized, award-winning hospitals, physicians, behavioral health services, and post-acute programs including home health services, skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities, and senior care resources. Lahey Health includes nearly 1,400 locally based physicians throughout northeastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. Lahey Health includes Lahey Hospital & Medical Center; Beverly Hospital; Addison Gilbert Hospital; Winchester Hospital; Lahey Health Senior Care and Lahey Health Behavioral Services, more than 30 primary care physician practices, and multiple outpatient and satellite specialty care facilities. For more information, visit Lahey.org.