Helping Hands Grants

MENTAL ILLNESS can profoundly disrupt a person’s thinking, moods, ability to relate to others and capacity for coping with the demands of life. While mental illnesses can affect persons of any age, race, religion, or income level, a heightened need exists for improved mental health education and assistance particularly in under-served communities throughout the United States. The staggering individual and societal consequences of untreated mental illness include: unnecessary disability, unemployment, substance abuse and homelessness. Every year in the United States, the economic cost of untreated mental illness exceeds hundreds of billions of dollars.

To address this issue, the Helping Hands Grant Program provides grants of up to $5,000 to medical schools for mental health and substance use disorder projects, particularly in under-served minority communities. Funded projects are created and managed by medical students and can be conducted in partnership with community agencies, or in conjunction with ongoing medical school outreach activities.

The program was established to encourage medical students to participate in community service activities, particularly those focused on under-served populations; raise awareness of mental illness and the importance of early recognition of illness; and build an interest among medical students in the psychiatric field and working in under-served communities. 

The Helping Hands Grant Program provides grants of up to $5,000  These projects can be conducted in partnership with community agencies or in conjunction with ongoing medical school outreach activities, and must be supervised by at least one psychiatrist.


Application Deadline

Applications for 2017 grants must be postmarked by May 31, 2017. If your institution requires review and approval by the Grants and Contract Office, please allow sufficient time for this to occur prior to submission of the application. Award decisions will be announced in mid-August, with grant funding available beginning September 1 (or upon receipt of a signed grant contract).

The program year runs from September 1, 2017 – August 31, 2018. Funds must be expended within this time frame. Unused funds must be returned to the foundation. If required, grant extensions should be requested prior to the end of the grant year in August, 2018.

Be sure to follow the application instructions and submit one original copy of a completed application packet by mail or by email as a PDF. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Please contact Lilia Coffin via email, with any questions regarding the application.

Apply here


Award Process

Upon selection, in August, the primary medical student author and the Project Administrator will be notified by USPS mail and will include a contract to be signed and returned. If APAF does not hear back from you within four weeks, your grant fund may be forfeited. Grant checks will be mailed upon receipt of the signed contract.

*The Helping Hands Grant Program is supported through an unrestricted
educational grant from Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. 
                otsuka SM 

If you, or someone you know is in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, click here for a list of resources.