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Great Circle expands Healthy Families St. Louis program

Missouri Foundation for Health grant targets vulnerable women and infants, supports Flourish St. Louis initiative

(October 11, 2017 – St. Louis) Great Circle, one of Missouri’s largest nonprofit providers of behavioral health services for children and families, is expanding its Healthy Families St. Louis program, thanks to a $560,730 grant from Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH). The grant is part of MFH’s Infant Mortality Reduction Initiative and supports the Flourish St. Louis initiative.

With the three-year grant, Great Circle is reaching more vulnerable, high-risk women, infants and children in the St. Louis area, providing home visits and connecting them to services addressing behavioral health needs, including trauma and post-partum depression.

Great Circle has provided the Healthy Families program in the St. Louis area since 2013, working specifically with mothers who have experienced chronic stress, poverty and trauma, physical, sexual or emotional abuse, and substance use, and their young children. Using the Healthy Families America model, Great Circle’s staff focuses on improving parenting skills, monitoring maternal and infant health issues, reducing child abuse, and supporting positive child development.

“We are honored to be part of the Infant Mortality Reduction Initiative,” said Vince Hillyer, Great Circle’s president and chief executive officer. “We know that when mothers and infants are effectively supported and have access to both physical and mental health care, infant mortality drops and families thrive.”

MFH’s initiative focuses on six Bootheel counties and the City of St. Louis, where infant mortality rates are among the highest in Missouri. The initiative funds community collaborations focused on improving the health of mothers before and during pregnancy, reducing premature births and addressing socioeconomic issues that negative affect families. Great Circle’s efforts are in collaboration with several St. Louis organizations, including Generate Health, Signature Medical Group, St. Louis Area Diaper Bank and Helping Hand Me Downs.

The Flourish St. Louis initiative, led by Generate Health, is focusing on supporting positive outcomes of MFH’s initiative in the City of St. Louis. Generate Health (formerly Maternal, Child and Family Health) is a collaborative of several area organizations working to improve birth outcomes, promote healthy families and build strong communities.

Through MFH’s grant, Great Circle is addressing Flourish St. Louis’ priorities around health communication, health care navigation and behavioral health. More mothers are being connected to quality medical and behavioral health services, prior to, during and after pregnancy, as well as their infants and children up to age 3. Frequent home visits foster improved parent-child interaction and child health, and parenting skill-building. Regular screenings of mothers and their children also help identify potential physical and mental issues, with referrals to appropriate health providers.

“We are committed to strengthening families across Missouri and we do that through a wide variety of behavioral health services,” said Hillyer. “We are excited to expand our ability to help new families flourish and grow healthier, happier and stronger.”