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Republishing Images:

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Direct Relief often contracts with freelance photographers who usually, but not always, allow their work to be published by Direct Relief’s media partners. Contact Direct Relief for permission to use images in which Direct Relief is not credited in the caption by clicking here.

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For any additional questions about republishing Direct Relief content, please email the team here.

On Improving Mental Health, Clinic Staff Have Wisdom to Share 

Representatives from New Jersey, Florida, and California had the opportunity to collaborate and share insights on mental health awareness at the recent Community Health Summit.


Community Health

A panel of mental health experts speak at the Comunity Routes Learning Summit in May 2024. (Brianna Newport/Direct Relief)

People who most need access to mental health care don’t always know where to find it. Or speak the same language as an available therapist. Or have a reliable ride to a counseling session. 

To overcome these and other barriers, safety net providers across the U.S. are thinking outside the box. In some cases, they’re thinking outside the physical walls entirely. During a recent event at Direct Relief headquarters, several of these innovative clinics, each funded by Teva, had an opportunity to share insights and learn from one another. 

On May 20 and 21, Direct Relief, Teva, and the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics hosted the Community Routes: Access to Mental Health Care Learning Summit. 

Teva has funded 11 clinics aimed at advancing health equity by increasing access to care for uninsured patients suffering from depression and anxiety in California, Florida, and New Jersey. This learning summit celebrated the extraordinary and often groundbreaking work of these clinics and their staff. 

The event consisted of panel discussions and workshops, where executives, therapists, program operators, and other clinic staff members explored effective strategies for treating their communities.

Topics for discussion included cultural and language barriers, mobile mental health services, approaches to screening, catering to specific demographics, and community outreach. 

Eryn Shugert, Executive Director at Savie Health in Lompoc, California, discussed a clinic program focused on immigrant women who are coping with the trauma of losing a loved one back home. 

For patients experiencing homelessness, Talbot House Ministries in Lakeland, Florida takes a holistic approach to mental health, said Maria Cruz, the clinic’s Executive Director. 

Teaching mental health concepts and tools to community members, so they can teach their friends and neighbors in turn, has been an indispensable tool for the University of Florida Mobile Outreach in Gainesville, Florida, said Dr. Carol Lewis, a clinical psychologist. 

Community Routes: Access to Mental Health Care was awarded the 2023 Global Generics and Biosimilars Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Initiative of the Year. 

Clinics at the summit included:


  • University of Florida Mobile Outreach in Gainesville, Florida 
  • Grace Medical Home in Orlando, Florida 
  • Talbot House Ministries of Lakeland, Inc., in Lakeland, Florida  

New Jersey

  • Cape Volunteers in Medicine in Cape May Court House, New Jersey  
  • Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative, Inc., in Hackensack, New Jersey  
  • Parker Family Health Center in Red Bank, New Jersey  


  • Samaritan House in San Mateo, California – Samaritan House in San Mateo, California  
  • Symba Center in Apple Valley, California 
  • Westminster Free Clinic in Thousand Oaks, California 
  • Lestonnac Free Clinic in Orange, California  
  • Savie Health in Lompoc, California  

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