Thursday, September 10, 2015

New funding partnership supports collaboration, integration across behavioral health spectrum

The Denver Foundation and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) announce a strategic partnership designed to improve the accessibility and impact of behavioral health services across Colorado. Today, the two organizations opened a three-year cycle of funding for collaborative programs that address the spectrum of behavioral health issues statewide. A Request for Applications (RFA) is now available online at

The Denver Foundation and CDPHE are committed to eliminating overlap and encouraging collaboration between Colorado public and private entities, including resident groups, community organizations, and government agencies. Funds will support existing collaborations between three or more organizations that work together to address behavioral health issues at the local level.

With this joint RFA, The Denver Foundation and CDPHE recognize the essential role of local communities in serving those with unique behavioral health care needs. The RFA also encourages a whole-system approach to the prevention, screening, and treatment of behavioral health issues, which are often symbiotically connected to other health issues, by encouraging partnership between providers.

  • Nationally, more than two-thirds of those with behavioral health disorders don’t get treatment.
  • Half of those who do get help get it from their primary care physicians.
  • 80 percent of patients with behavioral health disorders do see their primary care physician at least once a year.
"This funding collaboration offers an unprecedented opportunity to help maximize the impact local health and community partners can make in improving behavioral health outcomes throughout the state," said Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director and chief medical officer at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. "If we want to be the healthiest state, we must treat the mind and body."

“Funders often look to communities to collaboratively solve problems, leveraging unique assets to ensure solutions are comprehensive, and reach many people in the community,” says Monica Buhlig, director of basic human needs at The Denver Foundation. “We are modeling this practice through this collaboration between The Denver Foundation and the State of Colorado.”

Two Funding Opportunities

Through its Colorado Health Access Fund (CHA), The Denver Foundation will support projects that increase access to behavioral health treatment; CDPHE will support behavioral health prevention and screening through the Colorado State Innovation Model (SIM), which exists to improve the health of Coloradoans by providing access to integrated primary care and behavioral health services in coordinated community systems.

Guidelines and the complete RFA are available via

Qualifying collaboratives may apply to either funding source or both. Applications are due October 16, 2015, by 5 pm. Funding will be announced in January 2016.

Additional funding opportunities are available from the Colorado Health Access Fund. For more information, visit

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