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Professional News
Making Ends Meet
Psychiatric News
Volume 40 Number 21 page 14-14

One of the big challenges in setting up the Institute for Mental Health Ministry in November 2001 was, not surprisingly, money. "There were not the visible faith-based initiatives that President Bush later established," Michael Torres, M.D., the institute's founder, said." So it was difficult to find funding sources for it. But fortunately we were able to get the organization started with some modest financial support from the institute's Board of Directors, by offering educational programs that brought in stipends, and by my donating my clinical services."

As time went by, funds were also derived from payment for clinical services although, as Torres pointed out, the institute only accepted Medicare and Medicaid—not private insurance—and charged individuals without Medicare and Medicaid very reasonable fees according to a sliding scale." We never turned anyone away even if they couldn't pay," said Torres.

Still other money has come from Baltimore Mental Health Systems, the Knott Foundation, the Strauss Foundation, and the Foundation for Spirituality and Medicine to support the Praise Project.

The purpose of the Praise Project is to destigmatize mental illness and increase awareness of mental health resources in the faith community. The Mental Health Association of Maryland transferred this initiative to the institute in 2003.

Many people also assist the institute as volunteers, Torres added." Board members, people from the community—it is always amazing how many of our patients really try to help out in different ways. There is actually a lot of good will."

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