Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Awarded TD Bank Grant to Proactively Address Trauma for High-Risk Adolescents and Prevent Mental Illness

Published on in CHOP News

TD Ready Challenge Grant Supports Screening and Appropriate Interventions that Buffer Children Against Traumatic Events

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) today announced receipt of a $750,000 grant through TD Bank’s TD Ready Challenge. The funding will support CHOP’s Growing Resilience in Teens (GRIT) project, a proactive trauma screening and referral intervention for buffering children against traumatic events to combat the mental health crisis in the West Philadelphia community.

“There is abundant and compelling evidence that childhood trauma and exposure to family and community violence lead to increased risk of mental illness,” said Alonzo South, Senior Director of Community Engagement at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “With the help of this grant, GRIT intends to break this link between trauma and mental illness. Our goal is to increase the emotional well-being of children and their families by addressing trauma through community treatment and prevention.”

The GRIT project will be located in West Philadelphia, an area where the 2019 Southeastern Pennsylvania Community Health Needs Assessment identified trauma and chronic stress as priority health issues. Exposure to trauma is a known risk factor for mental illness, including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. Further, youth mental illness can have lifelong, adverse consequences on social relationships, academic performance and productivity.

"GRIT has the potential to have significant impact on youth and families across West Philadelphia,” said Mike Carbone, TD Bank Regional President, Metro PA/NJ. "Through the TD Ready Challenge, we’re honored to partner with CHOP to bring programs like this to life and look forward to continuing to work together to build a healthier future for all."

The GRIT project will implement a three-fold approach to improve the health of vulnerable children and families through: 1) screening and assessment for trauma exposure and symptoms, 2) referring patients and families to evidence-based, resiliency building interventions that mitigate the effects of trauma, and 3) assigning community health workers to strengthen and build family engagement.

GRIT is part of CHOP’s Healthier Together initiative, launched earlier this year, to tackle the social determinants of health as a path to improving the well-being of children. Read more about this initiative and its community-centered mission here: https://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/healthier-together/about.

Contact: Jennifer Lee, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 267-426-6084 or leej41@email.chop.edu