The goal of this initiative is to increase the voice of individuals with lived experience with mental health and/or substance use conditions in mental health policy development and implementation, and to build consumer capacity to effectively engage in mental health and substance use policy and advocacy in Texas.
Through this grant program, the foundation builds on the original post-graduate mental health policy fellowship program by creating a track for peer policy fellows. This grant program provides individuals with lived experience of mental health and/or substance use conditions opportunities to develop policy and advocacy skills and serve as the often-missing voice at the table, thus building their capacity to engage in policy and advocacy. Peer fellows acquire the skills and expertise needed to provide the peer community with mentors and leaders who can effectively influence policy and help others develop the knowledge and skills needed to advocate successfully.
The foundation recognizes that individuals with lived experience of mental health conditions often live with co-occurring substance use conditions. Although best practices recognize the need for integrated and collaborative care, historically, the co-occurrence of mental health and substance use has been addressed in silos. Organizations interested in mental health, substance use, or co-occurring conditions are encouraged to apply.
Public policy encompasses a variety of activities aimed at creating systems change including policy analysis, strategy development, implementation planning, systems monitoring, evaluation, and advocacy.
Grantees are expected to ensure that the fellow has strong policy and mental health mentorship. A major consideration of these grant awards will be the ability of the designated mentor(s) to support the fellow in their policy work.
Proposals should outline a work plan for fellow activities and responsibilities. The plan should provide opportunities for a variety of mental health and/or substance use policy experiences for the fellow. The plan should also include strategies for addressing the fellow’s professional development.