Our mission is to elevate the mental well-being of Lancaster County children.

Children like 16-year-old Alicia* whose suicidal thoughts and experimentation with cutting were unnoticed until a grant and physician training intervened with screening and referral.

Children like Joanna’s* infant son was born while she was incarcerated. Thanks to grants that provided a family advocate and an alternative foster care program, he was given the chance to bond with his mother and thrive in a safe and loving home until her release. Read more.

The strategy for greatest impact

LOHF facilitates children’s access to behavioral healthcare through grants to local programs; we provide scholarships, continuing education, and resources to healthcare providers. In 2017 alone, we invested more than half a million dollars into Lancaster County programs and providers to enhance the behavioral health of kids. We allocate as much of our endowment resources as possible to these programs, and the generosity of donors allows us to help even more children and families be well.

Here’s a snapshot of our success in this mission in our 2017 Annual Report.

Learn how you can participate in this mission.

*Names changed to protect privacy.


The pain and suffering of untreated depression or anxiety may be the greatest impetus for someone to consider ending their life. If they complete suicide, loved ones are left with regret, guilt, and unspeakable grief. Children and teens are left traumatized, struggling to process their loss. Too often, teens are losing their peers to suicide. If someone you love has ended their life, there is local support for you.

The good news is that suicide is preventable! But it takes each of us to help by knowing the signs, how to talk to someone when you are concerned, and how to get help.

Know the Signs

Prevention of suicide of teens (and adults) in Lancaster County starts with knowing the five signs of emotional distress: Personality change, agitation, withdrawal, poor self-care, and hopelessness. Learn more about the five signs.

Risk factors for suicide include:

  • Family history of suicide
  • A history of mental disorders, particularly clinical depression
  • A history of alcohol and substance abuse
  • Feelings of hopelessness, impulsiveness or aggressive tendencies
  • Isolation: A feeling of being cut off from the world
  • Perceived barriers to mental health treatment
  • Loss (relationships, social engagement, job, or finances)
  • Physical illness or chronic pain
  • Unwillingness to seek help because of stigma

Be concerned if someone you know:

  • Talks about wanting to kill themself
  • Is investigating ways to kill themself (such as Internet searches, or suddenly buying a gun)
  • Says they feeling hopeless, with no reason to live
  • Says they feel trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Describes themselves as a burden to others
  • Has increased their use of alcohol or drugs
  • Exhibits anxious, agitated, or reckless behavior
  • Is withdrawn, or says they feel isolated
  • Experiences extreme mood swings
  • Has become preoccupied with death
  • Is suddenly calmer, happier than usual
  • Has lost interest in activities and things they cared about
  • Is giving things away, such as prized possessions

Find the Words

“Are you thinking of ending your life?” Few phrases are as difficult to say to a loved one. But when it comes to suicide prevention, none are more important. Learn some more ways to get the conversation started. It’s time to talk.

We must also listen. See one teen’s plea on TEDx about his experience with depression and suicidal ideation. Watch one teen’s plea to start talking about depression and suicide. It’s time to talk. It’s time to listen.

Reach Out

You are not alone in grieving the loss of a loved one to suicide. View our list of supportive resources and communities. You are also not alone in helping someone in crisis. Help is just a call, text, or click away.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1 (800) 273-8255

Crisis Text Line: text “EMM” to 741741.

For support in Lancaster County:

  • Aevidum student groups. The word Aevidum, which means “I’ve got your back,” was created by students after they lost a classmate to suicide. What started in one tiny school in Lancaster County, Pa., has now become a nationwide movement.
  • Mental Health America of Lancaster County offers support groups and resources for families and individuals.
  • The Lancaster County Suicide Prevention Coalition through Mental Health America is a partnership of mental health professionals, schools, and families, dedicated to increasing suicide prevention awareness.

Join LOHF and others in the local movement to prevent suicide at www.stopsuicidelancaster.org. It takes all of us to change direction for our teens and families in Lancaster County.



Our board and staff recently spent a day together to ask ourselves tough questions about implicit bias, micro-aggression, and racial equity. What we learned will help us each personally, and propel us to take LOHF’s mission of enhancing children’s behavioral health to the next level.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion

Our diversity positively influences perspective, and adds value. This includes diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical ability, mental health, religious beliefs, political positions, and more.

Equity is when everyone receives the support they need. Understanding equity helps us direct resources for the greatest impact. It is motivated by the understanding that some people need more support than others. And equity matters in children’s behavioral health.

Inclusion is about accessibility. It’s making sure that all who want to participate can do so. It is thoughtfully considering how we can eliminate barriers to services for those who need them.

Creating a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion is an asset to our organization’s governance and management. Diversity, equity, and inclusion also impact mental wellness and access to behavioral healthcare, particularly for children. Therefore, our commitment to this movement furthers LOHF’s mission to enhance the well-being of Lancaster County kids.

Our vision

Our Board and staff are invested in growing personally and organizationally in our understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We’re dedicated to recruiting more diverse leadership. Our board and staff members have committed to broaden their networks to recruit talent unlike ourselves. We’re not checking off a box to say we’re inclusive. We want talented people, passionate about our mission, with diverse vantage points that are missing from our current team. And we’re committed to making their experience at LOHF positive.

Next steps

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are informing our current strategic planning process. We continue to look for our blind spots. We will engage with more diverse networks to recruit talent. We will evaluate how diversity, equity, and inclusion effect: access to behavioral healthcare, particularly for children; childhood trauma; and mental health stigma.

In addition, we hope to inspire other organizations to embrace this work. To that end, LOHF Executive Director Anna Kennedy will share LOHF’s continuing journey by co-presenting (with Tony Hernandez) Pathways to Inclusivity, at the Inclusion by Design 2.0 conference. We hope this will inspire others to embark on the journey as well.

We don’t journey alone

We’re deeply grateful to those who have inspired and guided our path so far. LOHF volunteer Fran Rodriguez asked us some tough questions in 2017. The same year our Board Chair, Shawn Barron championed the significance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in our work. Our executive director, Anna Kennedy, embraced the call to action and sought out Dr. Amanda Kemp for coaching. Our current board and its chair, John Walker, move us forward with our commitment with practical application. Tony Hernandez of Reflective Wisdom led us in a training series that profoundly influenced us personally, and organizationally. These things prepared us to reflect on hard questions with Tony’s help at our recent retreat. The retreat culminated with Dr. Deborah Davis taking us through Leadership Lancaster’s Racial Inclusion and Equity training.

You are welcome here

This journey has been timely, as four board members complete their terms this year. As we recruit their replacements, we welcome qualified persons of color and other diverse communities to apply. Please understand that we don’t seek token diversity. We need you. We need and value the skills, professional expertise, and experience that you will bring to the table. Your diversity only enhances these, adding a perspective that we currently lack.

If you are passionate about improving the mental well-being of Lancaster County kids, we invite you to learn more about our open board positions and committee needs. If you feel the tug to join us, we sincerely hope you will apply by reaching out to our executive director, Anna Kennedy.


What is seamless transition?

Seamless transition is the continuity of physical and behavioral healthcare as a teen ages past eligibility for services for children. The process is not simple, however. A seamless transition requires years of preparation, and parents, youth, and healthcare providers must work together. Beginning in childhood, they should take a coordinated, purposeful, planned, and patient-centered approach.  Furthermore, parents and care providers must gradually move responsibility and authority for healthcare decisions to the youth. Ultimately, the young person should be established with adult services by the time they enter adulthood.

The Challenge

Too often, however, young adults don’t have this kind of smooth transition.  In LOHF’s Needs Assessment, parents and key caregivers showed that teens moving into adulthood have the greatest need for behavioral and mental health services. Persons age 14 to 26 years old experience the largest gap in care. Limited to no services are available as teens age out of child coverage and access. As a result, by age 18 or 21, access to behavioral healthcare abruptly stops. Many young adults must navigate a new and unfamiliar healthcare system without professional coordination. The process is so challenging that there is a significant disruption in care. In fact, many abandon treatment altogether.

Our Goal

Our vision is for all Lancaster County children and youth to experience mental wellbeing. We facilitate access to behavioral healthcare for them by providing grants, nurse scholarships, provider education, and resources. Since our Children’s Behavioral Health Grants program began in 2015, one of our priorities has been to support programs that promote seamless transition of youth. However, we have not received any grant requests to address the challenge.

Join the Movement for Change

Here’s how you can learn more and get involved:

  • Join us for a discussion with our current and past grantees on Oct. 10, 2018, from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. It will be held at LOHF, 128 E. Grant St., Lancaster, PA, 17602. View map and parking information here. Please RSVP to akennedy@lohfoundation.org.
  • Learn about LOHF Children’s Behavioral Health Grants and apply.

Some of our donors and staff recently attended an exclusive, pre-opening tour of the new Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital.  This innovative addition to our community will provide inpatient and outpatient behavioral health care for adolescents and adults.

At LOHF, we are committed to improving children’s behavioral health and are hopeful that the inpatient adolescent behavioral health unit will fill a need gap for youth and their families.

The hospital will offer inpatient and outpatient services for adolescents, adults and seniors with primary psychiatric disorders. The inpatient adolescent unit opens in September. It will be the only provider of inpatient behavioral health therapy for teens in Lancaster County.

Tour Highlights

Jayne Van Brammer, the hospital’s president and CEO, answered questions as she led our tour. Some highlights were:

  • Adolescent student classroom, where a teacher is able to help them keep up with school work during their hospital stay
  • Quiet rooms where activities such as aromatherapy or yoga will take place
  • Comfortable living room areas with televisions and lounge chairs
  • Calm-colored bedrooms which include suicide deterrent bathrooms, doors, and dressers
  • High-capacity cafeteria with nutritional food
  • Large gymnasium with modern equipment
  • Outdoor courtyards with picnic tables and basketball courts
  • Special needs accommodations
  • Physician offices, nursing stations, and assessment rooms

Learn more about the need for children’s behavioral healthcare in Lancaster County that drives our mission at LOHF.

The Lancaster Osteopathic Health Foundation (LOHF) is proud to announce the recipients of the 2018 Nurse Education Scholarship. The purpose of the Nurse Education Scholarship Program is to strengthen the capacity of healthcare professionals in Lancaster County by supporting nursing students.

This year, LOHF is investing $63,000 in the education local nursing students; this includes $22,250 to 14 new scholarship recipients, and the remaining balance to previous recipients who are continuing in a second or third year of their degree program. Since 2003, LOHF has awarded more than $835,000 in scholarships towards the education of nurses who can be found caring for our family members, friends and neighbors.

LOHF nurse education scholarships support nurses in Licensed Practical Nursing, Registered Nursing, and Bachelor of Science in Nursing, as well as advanced degrees and certificate programs such as Certified School Nurse or Family Nurse Practitioner.

“We are thrilled to be able to assist healthcare providers with critical access to financial and educational resources including grants, scholarships, information and trainings. Our Nurse Education Scholarship supports students at leading medical facilities, universities and colleges in Lancaster County and the surrounding region,” explains Anna Brendle Kennedy, LOHF Executive Director.

Recipients of the 2018 Nurse Education Scholarships are:

RN Scholars:

Joshua Lourdon, of Elizabethtown, attending Harrisburg Area Community College – Lancaster Campus

Kate Rohrer, of Strasburg, attending Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences

Kelsey Stark, of Willow Street, attending Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences

Tara Stauffer, of Ronks, attending Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences

RN to BSN Scholars:

Jeannine Kreider, of Quarryville, attending Eastern Mennonite University

Kaitlyn Richartz, of Lancaster, attending Millersville University

BSN Scholars:

Julie Bianco, of Holtwood, attending Penn State University – Harrisburg

Madison Leakway, of Lititz, attending Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences

Ashley Mellinger, of Strasburg, attending Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences

MSN Scholars:

Natalie Goss, of Lititz, attending Millersville University

Janine Muir, of Kinzers , attending Millersville University

Rhonda Slinghoff, of Lancaster, attending Drexel University

Danielle Sweigart, of Lancaster, attending Millersville University


A 2018 Nurse Education Scholarship Reception is planned for September 5, 2018, 5:30 p.m. at Rock Ford Plantation, Lancaster PA. All are welcome. RSVP at info@lohfoundation.org or call (717) 397-8722.

Learn More About Scholarships

To learn more about LOHF Nurse Education Scholarships and how to apply, visit our scholarship program page.

At LOHF (Lancaster Osteopathic Health Foundation) our mission is to improve children’s behavioral health in Lancaster County and equip healthcare providers toward this end. We cannot remain silent any longer on the current national policy of separating children from their asylum-seeking families at the southern U.S. border.

We are physicians, psychiatrists, nurses, mental health providers, school administrators, parents, grandparents, and concerned citizens. As professionals in fields promoting the healthy mental and emotional development of children, we know that separating children from parents causes serious harm when they are fleeing the trauma of violence, in search of safety. Imprisoning children in detention facilities apart from their parents causes extreme stress and anxiety. It can cause or compound post-traumatic stress disorder for both children and parents.

As professionals, we know that a child’s attachment to a parent in a highly stressful situation can mitigate the damaging effects on the young child’s developing brain. Separating children from their parents during these stressful times prolongs exposure to toxic stress, potentially causing serious, lifelong health complications.

That is why we stand with the many organizations opposed to detaining children and separating them from parents, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics. We urge those involved to remember that these children and families are already uniquely vulnerable, and at high risk for lasting trauma that can damage their behavioral and physical health in the long term. They deserve our protection.


John Walker, Board Chair

Anna Brendle Kennedy, Executive Director





By Maddison Toney, Intern


Last month at NAMI’s Ohio conference, actor Wil Wheaton (of Big Bang Theory, Star Trek, and Wonder Years fame), shared his experience with mental illness. His struggle with depression and anxiety began in childhood. This was complicated by parents and other adults not understanding his need for help. Like Wheaton, 1 in 5 U.S. children suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder. Yet only 21 percent of these children receive the necessary care. However, the good news is that there is help available. Knowing the warning signs is the first step. And it starts with parents and other caregivers.

How can I tell?

Warning signs that a child may need behavioral health care may appear as early as 3 years old. If your child or teen displays any of the following behaviors, they may need help from you, and possibly a physician or behavioral healthcare provider:

  • Feeling sad or acting withdrawn for more than 2 weeks
  • Self-injury, such as: hitting, cutting, hair pulling, or even discussing, planning, or attempting suicide.
  • Sudden, overwhelming fear
  • Significant mood swings that effect relationships
  • Severe, uncontrolled behavior with potential of harm to self or others (such as frequent fighting, or expressing desire for harm)
  • Drug or alcohol use

What should I say?

You may feel uncertain about out to talk with your child or teen about these concerns. It’s important to do so in a way that assures them they are cared for and safe. Some ways to do this are to: choose a time and location where your child feels safe; speak in a calm, appropriate tone; be straightforward about your concerns; listen openly.  Some helpful questions to ask are:

  • “Sometimes you need to talk to an adult about your feelings. I’m here to listen. How can I help you feel better?”
  • “Can you tell me more about what is happening? How are you feeling?”
  • “Would you ever tell me if you have thoughts about harming yourself or others?”

What if I am not the child’s parent or guardian?

You may be concerned about a child or teen in your classroom, on your sports team, theatre group, Sunday school, or other activity. If you observe the warning signs of behavioral health concerns, you can help. If you suspect abuse or neglect, report your observations to PA Childline. If you do not suspect abuse or neglect, reach out to the parents or caregiver. Share your observations and ask if they are noticing anything unusual at home. You can offer support by encouraging them to see their primary care or behavioral healthcare provider. There are also other local resources that you can encourage friends and family to join like the Community Support Program, educational programs or support groups to involve themselves in the community. The overall goal is to support the child and family by fostering a safe and positive environment for the children you lead.

Learn more about warning signs, screenings, and support for children’s behavioral health needs.

We recently hosted an info session for organizations interested in applying for LOHF Children’s Behavioral Health Grants. View the full presentation and handout here.  The following are Q&A and discussion highlights from the session.  The next application deadline is September 1, 2018. There will be another round of grants available in spring 2019.

What does LOHF mean by seamless transition of services for young adults?

Seamless transition of services for young adults” means youth between the ages of 16-25, for whom at age 18 or 21, mental health services stops, changes, or becomes increasingly complex. We identified this need in our 2015 Lancaster County needs assessment when we heard from providers and parents that adolescence poses some of the greatest challenges in mental health when young adults are transitioning from a child system to an adult system.

Can an applicant apply for funding in both grant cycles?

Yes, we have several organizations who have applied in both our spring and fall funding cycles. We have funded organizations, for different programs, in both funding cycles. We have also funded the same organization for two different programs in the same funding cycle.

Do you only fund new programs or will you fund existing programs as well?

LOHF will fund new and existing programs as long as the program is well-aligned to the outcomes we’ve identified as needs in Lancaster County children’s behavioral health. We want to support existing program expansion or the introduction of evidence-based programs from other places to Lancaster County.

What does it mean for a program or service to be evidence-based?

An evidence-based program or service is based on a reviewed model with data (such as pre/post-test evidence) that can be cited. Examples of such programs that LOHF has funded are Nurse Family Partnership, Incredible Years, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, and Reach Out and Read. Evidence-base is not a requirement of funding, but it is a review question in our criteria. A helpful resource for evidence-based programs is from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Must the program for which an applicant applies be a direct service?

No, in fact, we have seen an increase in requests to fund training, workforce development, and other types of education programs for parents and providers.

Insights our current and past grant partners discussed with potential grant applicants included:

  • The wisdom of being financially supported by multiple sources
  • LOHF’s expectations of good data on models
  • LOHF’s flexibility in how funds may be allocated within the program or service

Learn more about our Children’s Behavioral Health Grants.



By Anna Kennedy, Executive Director

Bob Haigh

Our dear friend Bob Haigh passed away at his home on May 12, after being hospitalized for 10 days. His sister was by his side.

Bob was a dear friend and mentor. He served as LOHF’s first President/CEO. Bob was an incredible force for philanthropic good in Pennsylvania. He had such a wonderful sense of humor and optimism, even in the most challenging situations. I always enjoyed working with him. I spent the day with Bob just a few months ago at a Psychiatric Leadership Council meeting in Harrisburg. I’ll always remember his unwavering dedication to finding opportunities, his steadfast optimism, and his laughter.

A Life of Public Service

We will remember Bob for his extensive knowledge of public health and human service programs in Pennsylvania. Prior to joining LOHF, Bob was Special Assistant and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Department of Public Welfare, Feather Houstoun. His work there focused on foundation partnerships. He improved relations with county government.

His Philanthropic Legacy

Bob spent decades successfully working with major private and community foundations in Pennsylvania, and across the country. He secured more than $70 million in foundation grants for health and human service programs. Bob also was a consultant to Council on Foundations and Grantmakers in Health. Bob brought this exceptional organizational and consensus building skills to LOHF, which remains strong in our organizational culture today.

Bob brought his expertise and influence to many Boards of Directors, including: Harrisburg AIDS Alliance, United Way of Lancaster County, United Way of Pennsylvania, Parents Anonymous, and Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children. He was Vice Chair on the State Advisory Council for CHIP and Adult/Basic Insurance for the PA Department of Insurance.  Bob was appointed to Governor Ed Rendell’s Commission on Children and Families. He also served as a member of the Public Policy Committee of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, and the National Advisory Board on Joint Project with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for Grantmakers in Health.

Obituary and Celebration of Life

Bob’s obituary is available at http://obits.pennlive.com/obituaries/pennlive/obituary.aspx?n=robert-p-haigh&pid=189052378 and https://www.buhrig.com/notices/Robert-Haigh. A celebration of his life will be planned for a future date.

The staff, board, and volunteers at LOHF offer our sincere condolences to Bob’s sister, nephew, and the many friends and colleagues who knew him. We lost a very bright light.

Bob Haigh Memorial Fund at LOHF

Friends of Bob are honoring his legacy by establishing the Bob Haigh Memorial Fund at LOHF. If you wish, to join in making a gift in his honor, you may do so here. (Please make your designation in the “note” block as you make your gift.)



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