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Local Mental Health Crisis Calls for Local Solutions

February 28, 2023 | By Emilie Jacques

PHF announces $100,000 RFP

Portage Health Foundation (PHF) is announcing a new $100,000 request for proposal (RFP) titled Mental and Behavioral Health Services, Including Substance Use Disorders. The RFP is now open, and applications are due on May 12.

2023-02-27-MentalHealthService-IncludingSubstanceUseDisorder--Social-Posting---OL-Instagram-Variation2 (1)“Our community is crying out for help, and this RFP is in direct response to that outcry,” PHF Executive Director Kevin Store said. “Everyone knows there have been increases in anxiety, suicide ideation, violent crime rates, addiction issues, and a decrease in coping skills, provider availability and social connections. While we know any one thing can’t solve all of the problems, this is an opportunity for our community to take some action.”

Data presented in the 2018 Upper Peninsula Community Health Needs Assessment has reported several concerning mental health trends.

  • 38 percent of residents in Houghton and Keweenaw County rated a “shortage of mental health programs and services, or lack of affordable mental health care as,” as a “very important” community health issue.
  • 6 percent of residents in Houghton and Keweenaw County report having been diagnosed with depressive disorder, 5.6 percent higher than the state average.
  • Ontonagon County residents making less than $25,000 reported having depressive disorder at a rate of 37.6 percent, compared to 19.7 percent for those who make more than $50,000.
  • 49.8 percent of residents from Baraga Country reported alcohol abuse as a “very important” community health issue.
  • Nationwide, approximately one in five adults, or 18.5 percent, have experienced mental illness in any given year, but only 41 percent of those adults received mental health services.
  • Only 50.6 percent of children with a mental health issue (aged 8-15) received mental health services.
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death for people aged 10-14 and the second leading cause for people aged 15-24.
  • In seven years, the number of suicide-related calls to Dial Help raised from 217 calls in 2010 to 704 calls 2017, up more than 224 percent.

PHF’s intention is that this RFP will fund the creation, support, and promotion of access to programs and services that educate, promote, and support individual choice of healthful activities and behaviors, raise awareness and education about unhealthful behaviors, and promote collaboration and connection between prevention and other mental health needs in the community.

The RFP aligns with two of PHF’s six strategic goals:

  • To help improve access to care for mental and physical health services.
  • To increase the number of mentally, emotionally, and physically well and resilient people in our community.

The Portage Health Foundation Board of Directors recently ratified a new theory of change model aimed to better target strategic investments in a healthful community. This RFP fits under two objective statements within the theory of change model:

  • To help improve access to care for mental and physical health services by creating collaborations and partnerships amongst community stakeholders across all sectors.
  • To increase the number of mentally, emotionally, and physically well and resilient people in our community by increasing awareness, reducing stigma, improving access to care supporting the development of necessary life-skills, proving advocacy and support, and addressing the effects of unmet individual health risks.

The last time that PHF offered an RFP specifically focused on mental health programs was 2018. Since then, PHF has directed investments towards mental health programs for COVID-related issues, Dial Help, Capturing Kids’ Hearts, Great Lakes Recovery Centers and more.

"We don’t know what we’re going to see from this request, but that’s why we do this,” Store said. "I’m hoping our community sees this RFP as a challenge and opportunity to think and act more broadly about this ongoing crisis."

Applications are due by May 12. While not required, PHF recommends that all interested applicants submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) in order to determine if a project matches the funding interests and is suitable for formal grant consideration. The LOI deadline is March 28. Grant awards will be announced on June 21. Full details on the RFP can be found at or by calling (906) 523-5920. 

Relevant Files

  • Mental and Behavioral Health Services, Including Substance Use Disorders RFP (PDF)
  • Letter of Inquiry Form (PDF)
  • Request for Funding Application (PDF)

Relevant Links

Emilie Jacques

Emilie Jacques

"I graduated from Michigan Tech with a B.S. in Psychology, a minor in Communication Studies, and a minor in Media Production. I love the outdoors and DnD." You can reach Emilie at