LOHF recently convened a discussion with our grantees regarding access to mental health services for youth during their transition to adulthood. LOHF would like to fund programs to expand services to these transition-age youth. The group discussed questions such as:

  • How can we help teens with mental health needs as they age out of child mental health services to become young adults?
  • What special considerations should we keep in mind as we help teens and young adults navigate their needs for mental health care?

Answering such questions is significant because teens are receiving mental health services in a pediatric system designed for those under age 18. Once they turn 18, many teens must abruptly switch to the adult mental health system. Young people who lack adequate support to navigate the adult mental health care system overnight, often lose access to critical mental health care.

For our discussion, we referred to a recent LOHF blog post about transition age youth, and a summary of themes that emerged from a questionnaire used in the LOHF needs assessment. There are existing mental health services, but they target specific groups such as: teen parents, whole families, mental health court, and trauma-informed care.

What’s already in place

Programs in Lancaster County serving teen and young adult mental health needs include:

  • CSG has had success by pairing education with fun, such as movie nights followed by a discussion, and a community garden.
  • COBYS is starting a kinship information center to help families with workshops and a monthly support group.
  • Children’s Behavioral Health Clinic, CHI-St. Joseph’s Health has a family-oriented coaching program that serves families in their homes. Staff educate families about nutrition, behavior management strategies, exercise, and family engagement. Private dollars fund the program.
  • CAP provides a full-time parent navigator at McCaskey High School. It has launched a similar program with HACC with a crisis worker who can refer students to services.
  • Teen ELECT wants to help school districts provide, or connect with, clinicians such as social workers.
  • Teen Hope provides mental health screenings to high schools and middle schools. To identify students who may be experiencing depression or anxiety. It then connects the family to mental healthcare providers.
  • COBYS will be training therapists in Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR), a proven treatment to help persons 18 and older heal from trauma. This is through a criminal justice grant, and they will work the mental health court.

More must be done

  • This is collective impact work. We must find ways to connect services together. In a similar manner as the Let’s Talk collaborative, we must have a clear, concise focus and message to engage all partners with clarity.
  • The solution requires strategic collaboration and a multifaceted approach. It requires community development and communication. We must work together to direct funds to create seamless transition for youth mental healthcare.
  • We must gather data for how many transition-age youth receive mental healthcare and at what levels of care. LOHF welcomes program data from all of our grantees. We will synthesize this information beginning with a non-prescriptive white paper that provides clear vision.

Join the movement

In May 2018, we launched our Grantee Cohort Meetings with a discussion of ACEs & Trauma-Informed Care. We convene each spring and fall to share what’s working and discuss opportunities for future needs.

Please “save the date” for our next Grantee Cohort Meeting on Wednesday, April 3, 2019 from 8:00 am – 10:00 am, at LOHF.




Student collaboration helps us measurably elevate children’s mental wellbeing

Abigail Jeffreys, Millersville University Sociology Major and 2018 LOHF Intern presents her research at “Made in Millersville.”

For the past year, LOHF has welcomed interns from Millersville University and West Chester University. This has evolved to include collaboration with professors who are incorporating meaningful projects for LOHF into their classes. These students and professors contribute to our success in measurably elevating children’s mental health in Lancaster County. And student feedback indicates their learning is enhanced by this chance to apply their knowledge to meaningful, significant work. Ultimately, the real winners are the children served by LOHF’s grant funding and other programs.

In the past year, the contributions of these college students have included:

  • For their senior capstone project, a team of PR majors from a Millersville University Public Relations class with Dr. Thomas Boyle created a campaign for our first giving circle, Lift Up Children’s Mental Health, to be launched this month.
  • As a cornerstone in their Digital Marketing class with Dr. A Nicole Pfannenstiel, Millersville students are creating and participating in our ExtraOrdinary Give social media event.
  • To better understand social research methods, Dr. Carrie Smith’s sociology students at Millersville University pitched their research ideas to us for unique new perspectives on how we can better engage Lancaster City residents in our work.
  • Interns from Millersville and West Chester Universities majoring in disciplines of social work, sociology, criminal justice, psychology, and English have also:
    • completed important research on our grants program
    • assisted with our nursing scholarship program
    • helped us create an ongoing forum to collaborate with our grantees and share information
    • created social media posts and graphics
    • made significant contributions to the changes that will be coming to our Website content and functionality

We are so grateful to these students, their professors, and these universities for these mutually beneficial collaborations that are ultimately a win for Lancaster County kids!

Learn how to apply for an LOHF Internship

On Sept. 25, LOHF approved Children’s Behavioral Health Grants to five Lancaster County programs.

“These five programs are reaching families and their children who have specific mental health needs, and for whom access to mental health care may be particularly challenging,” said LOHF Executive Director Anna Kennedy. “We’re on a mission to measurably elevate mental health for children in Lancaster County.”

  • Community Action Partnership of Lancaster County, Ensuring the Wellbeing of Children Fleeing Domestic Violence through Evidence Based Interventions, $25,000 to expand a partnership between Domestic Violence Services and COBYS that improves the mental health of children fleeing domestic violence, through the use of an evidence-based model. The Seeking Safety program utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy to explore such issues as trauma, addiction, and PTSD. The project will increase family competency about children’s mental health by aligning the curriculum between parent and child programs, and focusing on processing the trauma of experiencing and witnessing domestic violence.
  • Aaron’s Acres, Aaron’s Acres Plus, $11,575 to support a new program to meet the needs of young adults, ages 21-26 who have developmental disabilities. There is a tremendous need for therapeutic programs focusing on socialization and communication for individuals once they have graduated from high school. This program will provide opportunities for this group to interact with one another and engage in meaningful activities in a community setting.
  • Lancaster Health Center, Striving to make Lancaster County Reach Out and Read an integral part of regular pediatric visits, $15,000, to improve early literacy skills and early literacy an integral part of checkups in early childhood. Language development in the first five years of life and parent-child shared reading have clear benefits, not just to the child’s language and literacy skills, but also psychosocially for parent and child. Language and communication competence provide critical tools for learning, social relationships and behavior and emotion regulation from infancy and beyond.
  • Lancaster Public Library, Play, Learn, and Grow Series, $12,800, to connect children and their families to the library, and to offer valuable information from community professionals. Early literacy, nutrition, and child development are a few of the important topics covered during the two five-week sessions. With a focus on non-traditional library users, as well as new and young parents, the workshops foster relationships between community resource providers and those who need them most.
  • Compass Mark, Family Services Advocate – Supporting the Unique Needs of Children with Incarcerated Parents, $10,000 to expand the Family Services Advocate program that identifies the unique needs and rights of children with incarcerated parents at Lancaster County Prison. Each child receives a needs assessment, case management, relationship support, and pre/post evaluation. It has been recognized as an innovative early intervention, with demonstrated outcomes for improving resiliency, connecting children and caregivers to community resources, and helping mitigate the impact of childhood trauma.

About LOHF Children’s Behavioral Health Grants Program

LOHF’s grants measurably elevate children’s mental health by supporting local programs that target one or more of the following:

  • Care Coordination: Improve the delivery of children’s behavioral healthcare services.
  • Parent/Caregiver Education: Enhance the capacity of parents, families, and caregivers through trainings and support.
  • Access to Providers: Improve capacity of providers to support and treat children.

We encourage applicants to replicate existing models that have been successful, and to work collaboratively with others to improve mental health services for children and youth ages birth to 26.

An additional $100,000 in grant funds will be available in 2019.

Online applications are now available, and must be submitted online by March 1, 2019. Tax exempt community benefit organizations serving Lancaster County are eligible to apply. To learn more, please visit www.lohf.org/grants.


By Teresa Hartmann, PhD
Assistant Professor, Millersville University; Adjunct Faculty, Eastern Mennonite University; 2015 LOHF Nurse Scholarship Recipient


As a nurse scientist, I often reflect on the influencing variables that contributed to where I am today. I believe the variables influencing my own journey are found at the intersection of passion and opportunity.

My Advice: Reflect on your roots

Many have sacrificed for you to get to where you are today.  Thank them, appreciate them, and remember how proud they are of you.

As a second generation American, my immigrant grandparents came from Poland and Italy. My maternal great grandmother had the passion to keep my grandfather out of the Italian army, and seized the opportunity to bring him to the United States. My paternal grandmother followed her husband to the U.S. with passion for a better life. This provided opportunity to her 12 children who she ended up raising as a single mother. Several of those children (my aunts) recognized my passion to become a nurse and gave me opportunity by contributing toward my tuition.

My Advice: Don’t shy away from hard work

Know that there will be sacrifices but they are temporary.

Working in a nursing home in high school, and for an OB-GYN practice on weekends (Yes, I cleaned speculums to pay my nursing school tuition) were my opportunity to pay for school.  As a first-generation college student, I learned that hard work and sacrifice are required. But passion is what drives success. Find your personal Board of Directors—those people who support you in various aspects of life and are willing to speak truth into yours.

My Advice: Never say “Never!”

Be willing to test the system and advocate for yourself.  The answer you get might be, “No.” But often, it will be “Yes.”

Finishing my diploma in nursing, I declared that I would never go back to school. I was tired of working so hard. I wanted to have fun. However, my passion for learning quickly overrode my declaration. I enrolled in Millersville University’s RN-BSN program, where I was the only student the department returning to school for a BSN.

Often, it seemed like an insurmountable battle.  Scheduling was a nightmare. There were no 12-hour shifts so I worked evenings, started classes at 8 a.m., and went right back to work. My experience as a BSN student gave me a passion to advocate for 12-hour shifts, and the answer was “yes.” The Emergency Department agreed to a trial, providing more opportunity to earn a BSN.

My Advice: Immerse yourself in an educational journey

Higher education is a privilege.  Take advantage of every experience and opportunity. Disseminate what you have learned as knowledge that is meant to be shared.

Combining my passion for education and love of emergency nursing, I chose a clinical master’s program in Burns, Emergency, and Trauma Nursing. This gave me opportunity to work in clinical environments with clinical experts. They expanded my knowledge base and mentored me to become a clinical nurse specialist. As an ED nurse, I loved to educate anyone who would listen to me—new grads, patients, co-workers, and physicians.

Years later, I found myself in an uncomfortable place. I had to draw a line in the sand and decide who I was. I chose to stand true to my beliefs and values. Subsequently, I stepped away from education, into case management. This was an opportunity to expand my knowledge about healthcare reimbursement, and explore innovative solutions to patients’ needs. I was passionate about what nurses were accountable for, yet not learning in school.

This passion prompted my 6-year journey toward a PhD. In my PhD program, I derived the concept of financial competency in nursing from other disciplines with the working definition “The intentional actions of a nurse that contribute to the financial sustainability of a healthcare organization (Hartmann, 2012)”. My research focus was in development of an evidence-based educational intervention regarding financial competency in nursing, and investigating if the intervention could impact knowledge and attitudes positively.

After 6 years of research, and the development of two instruments measuring knowledge and attitudes regarding financial responsibilities of nurses in healthcare, I am proud to say that there is a statistically significant increase in knowledge and a statistically significant improvement in attitudes regarding financial competency in nursing following participation in an educational intervention.

Earning my PhD provided opportunity disseminate my findings at conferences and elsewhere.  Publication is the next step. Ultimately, I’m passionate to see these findings validate the contributions of nurses, so that they are economically valued and nursing care becomes fee for service (rather than a part of room and board).  My journey continues.

My Final Advice: Find where passion and opportunity intersect in your journey

Savor those moments and take full advantage of them. Assist others in finding their own intersections. Cheer them on.

Scholarship recipients, the journey is yours. Make it a great one.  Congratulations.

©2018 Hartmann May be used with permission of author.


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.



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