Denver Health, Caring for Denver Foundation and Denver Public Schools announce grant to provide crisis response resources and expand substance use treatment for students

Schools will benefit from further crisis response and stabilization resources, more coordinated care, and three additional STEP therapists


Oct. 19, 2023

DENVER –  Denver Health CEO Donna Lynne, joined by Caring for Denver Foundation executive director Lorez Meinhold, Denver Public Schools (DPS) superintendent Dr. Alex Marrero, Denver Health’s director of service for general pediatrics Sonja O’Leary, MD, and Denver Health Foundation executive director Crystal Potter Rivera, announced today a significant grant funded through Caring for Denver to provide funding to create a crisis response resource known as TRUST for Therapeutic Response and Urgent Stabilization Team.

This resource will work with the DPS crisis response team and be available to schools, individuals and families when a crisis occurs that impacts the students directly.

“We know that students who have been exposed to trauma, including gun violence, are at a higher risk for suicide and severe psychological distress. So, the sooner our crisis team reaches them, the sooner they can provide critical support,” said Lynne.

The $1.7 million in funding will be used to create TRUST that will be available to respond to traumatic events within 24 hours and help coordinate follow-up care and resources as needed. In addition, three schools will add an on-site STEP therapist to address student needs for substance use treatment and getting connected to resources. Those therapists will be added at Manual High School, Lincoln High School, and Kepner Middle School.

“This Crisis response team will be able to respond to emergencies and traumatic events that impact our schools more quickly and better equipped to provide resources to those most effected. Our TRUST team will also be able to provide therapy and/or medication management within 24 hours to students who need urgent support due to safety concerns such as suicidality or threats of violence. Students referred will also have access to the comprehensive services we provide through school-based health including care coordination, medical, health education, and dental services,” said Dr. O’Leary.

This marks the largest youth-focused individual grant amount that Caring for Denver has awarded.

“We are committed to being responsive to the emerging mental health and crisis needs we are seeing among Denver’s youth. Our partnership with Denver Health and DPS creates much needed, on-demand mental health and substance misuse supports for youth so they can easily access care when they need it most,” said Meinhold

Find more information about Denver Health Pediatrics at Denver Public Schools, also known as school-based health centers, and the STEP program on the Denver Health website.


About Denver Health

Denver Health is a comprehensive health and hospital system that provides high-quality care for all people. We deliver medical care to one-third of Denver’s population, proudly serving as the city’s safetynet hospital and providing preventative, primary and acute care services. For more than 160 years, Denver Health has been deeply rooted in the health and well-being of the community, providing high-quality clinical care, top-notch education and training for health care workers, and furthering critical research to benefit our patients. We are guided by our mission to serve our community with excellence, compassion and stewardship as we work to ensure all people have access to the care and programs they need to be happy, healthy and successful.

About Caring for Denver

Caring for Denver Foundation was founded and funded with overwhelming voter support to address Denver’s mental health and substance misuse needs by growing community-informed solutions, dismantling stigma, and turning the community’s desire to help into action. Guided by community input, the organization has funded more than $129 million in the areas of alternatives to jail, communitycentered solutions, youth, and special initiatives since it began.

About Denver Public Schools Denver Public Schools

District No. 1 was created on February 28, 1903, with the consolidation of many smaller school districts in the area. Today, Denver Public Schools is the largest K-12 school district in the state of Colorado with more than 88,000 students and 200 schools. You can learn more about DPS at

q1:ClientUser does not have access rights to database 'hlt'