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
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."