Project: Safe receives two grants to support mental health services

The Shawnee News-Star

 Project: SAFE, a nonprofit provider of services in Pottawatomie and Lincoln counties for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, has received two grants totaling $12,000 to support mental health assistance for its clients and staff.

The grants were made through a collaboration between the Avedis Foundation and Oklahoma Complete Health and will increase access to quality mental health services for Project: SAFE clients who may be unable to afford co-pays or sliding scale fees.

“Many of the clients we see at Project: SAFE require specialized clinical services such as trauma-informed, sexual assault treatment, but this option can seem like a distant and lofty expense to victims,” stated Rachael Sain, Assistant Executive Director for Project: SAFE. “With the assistance of the grant, Project: SAFE will be able to help our clients overcome this financial burden and access trauma-related mental health services to achieve overall health and well-being.”

The grants will also support mental health services for staff due to job-related circumstances in order to develop long-term resilience among Project: SAFE’s employees.

“Providing trauma-informed, client-directed advocacy services can often be a taxing and stressful job,” Sain said, adding, “Research has shown that secondary traumatic stress leads to compassion fatigue, which, in turn, leads to burn-out that can manifest in a variety of unhealthy ways for individuals.”

“We are so pleased to have Oklahoma Complete Health reach out to the Avedis Foundation to identify opportunities for improving mental health services in our community,” stated Dr. Kathy Laster, Avedis Foundation President and CEO. “These grant funds will help Project: SAFE to support critically needed trauma-based counseling for our domestic violence victims and staff. We appreciate the mental health investment Oklahoma Complete Health is making in our area to address this vulnerable population.”

Sain concluded, “Project: SAFE strives to promote an environment of health and healing for everyone, including our employees.”

About Project: SAFE –

Project: SAFE is a 501(c)3 organization that provides trauma-informed services and emergency shelter to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking in Pottawatomie and Lincoln Counties. The nonprofit’s services are free and confidential to any victim in need, available to all people regardless of race, creed, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.

In 2020, the agency served 1,635 clients. Among them were individuals classified as specialized victims –individuals who are deaf, homeless, LGBTQ, veterans, disabled, or victims with limited English proficiency. Project: SAFE’s emergency shelter provided a combined 2,793 nights to approximately 163 new clients, with an average stay of 17 nights.

With a thorough understanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and abuse, Project: SAFE is dedicated to helping victims break the cycle and move toward safety, empowerment, healing and freedom.

About Oklahoma Complete Health

Oklahoma Complete Health is a managed care organization that offers healthcare services through SoonerSelect and the SoonerSelect Specialty Children’s Plan. As a wholly-owned subsidiary of Centene Corporation, Oklahoma Complete Health exists to improve the health of our members through focused, compassionate and coordinated care delivered locally. For more information on Oklahoma Complete Health, please visit