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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Davison

Community Impact Grant Spotlight: The E.WE Foundation


Any person. Any diagnosis. Anywhere.

Parents and caregivers of children with special health needs experience considerable strain and stress when caring for their children. Additionally, siblings have a similar burden because parents might spend more time with their child with a disability. To manage these challenges, parents report the need for mental health care for themselves and their children, but many families go without these services. The E.WE Foundation understands the enormous burden of caregiving and how it can decrease a parent's ability to provide care, impacting the child’s health, the parents, siblings, and the overall functioning family.

In partnership with Madison City Schools (MCS) and funding by a Madison Visionary Partners Community Impact Grant, the E.WE Foundation sponsored a Youth Mental Health First Aid Training Class on May 11, 2023, at Madison City Schools Central Office. Learners completed 2-hours of self-paced online pre-work, followed by in-person instruction led by Stephanie Allen, MCS Mental Health Coordinator, and Briana Hawkins, MCS Licensed Social Worker. Both are certified Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructors.

The Youth Mental Health First Aid training is for adults who regularly interact with adolescents. The course teaches participants the risk factors and warning signs of mental health challenges common among adolescents, including anxiety, depression, psychosis, eating disorders, AD/HD, disruptive behavior disorders, and substance use disorders. Participants do not learn to diagnose nor how to provide any therapy or counseling – instead, participants learn to support a youth developing signs and symptoms of a mental illness or in an emotional crisis.

"Understanding barriers to mental health care is critical to developing practical mental health solutions and providing resources and support to families. The E.WE Foundation is committed to normalizing mental health, providing mental health support to families in the City of Madison, and supporting our schools and other community organizations with mental health initiatives," said Sarita Edwards, E.WE Foundation CEO & President.

The E.WE Foundation is a nonprofit healthcare advocacy organization providing resources and support to families with rare diseases, medical complexities, and special health needs. To learn more about the E.WE Foundation and its commitment to mental health, visit

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