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Grants in Action: Unum

By January 24, 2022Blog

For children and their parents who are refugees and experience the stress of immigration, the COVID-19 crisis can be catastrophic. There are already difficulties obtaining safe housing, employment, food, and access to care. The ongoing pandemic exacerbates social disparities that make access to care and stability a challenge.

The children and families Spurwink ShifaME served by have been hit with loss of income and isolation. Unum has stepped up to support continuity of care for families, allowing Spurwink’s ShifaME evidence-based, trauma-informed approach to remain constant.

ShifaME has experienced an uptick in referrals for behavioral health services over the past two years. The majority of ShifaME families access services through MaineCare. Most are experiencing financial hardship or significant instability due to the pandemic. The program uses a social work intern to help track referrals, but the need exceeds our capacity to serve youth and their families without funding.

Unum’s support allows Spurwink to help families apply for MaineCare or Katie Beckett funds or cover the costs of care. These funds help Spurwink provide age and language-appropriate care to children and adults who are disproportionately at risk for adverse health outcomes due to poverty, race and/or ethnic bias and structural racism, along with lack of access to health care, employment, and food.

“Through our Healthier Communities program, Unum increases equity in health and access to essential services, such as mobile screening programs and preventative services,” said Cary Olson Cartwright, Unum’s Assistant Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility.

Unum’s support strengthens capacity of health and other related systems that respond to care for youth and their families. It also decreases stigma, discrimination, and social isolation by transforming the way we think and talk about mental health and supports youth with early intervention resources. Unum is helping build strong and sustainable communities by ensuring all individuals and families facing the stressors of immigration have what they need to thrive.