MS Patients May Apply for Mental Health, Addiction Treatment Scholarship

Margarida Maia, PhD avatar

by Margarida Maia, PhD |

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The Red Songbird Foundation welcomes people with multiple sclerosis (MS) who are struggling with issues relating to mental health or substance abuse to apply for its Jason Davis Scholarship.

The award will cover the costs of a full treatment, given in California, addressing a serious mental health or substance use disorder for one MS patient, the foundation states on its scholarship webpage.

People are also invited to donate to the Red Songbird Foundation to help support additional treatment scholarships, it added in a press release.

Problems with mental health can be common among people with MS. As the disease progresses, emotions ranging from fear, moodiness, and irritability to depression and anxiety affect these people. These and other disease symptoms can be limiting in daily life, and research has shown that a considerable proportion of patients report a need for better mental health care.

Singer and songwriter Hilary Roberts, who has been sober from alcohol and drug use since 1997, started the nonprofit Red Birdsong Foundation in 2009. In addition to raising awareness about trauma, mental health, and alcoholism or substance abuse, the foundation provides education, outreach, resources, and treatment scholarships to those in need.

Shortly after its public launch in 2019, Roberts partnered with actor Jason Wahler to open the foundation to a wider audience.

Now Roberts and Wahler, the foundation’s co-chairs, have partnered with Race to Erase MS — a research fundraising organization founded by Nancy Davis in 1993, after she was diagnosed with MS — to create the treatment scholarship.

The scholarship honors the late Jason Davis, whose mission was similar to that of the foundation: helping individuals who want to regain control of their lives, but are financially unable to afford the necessary treatment.

To apply to the scholarship, candidates must be between the ages 22 and 50, be diagnosed with MS, and be struggling with substance abuse or mental health and unable to afford treatment. They also must be willing and able to travel to Southern California, where treatment will take place.

Finally, applicants need to show a “want and willingness to take direction towards a better life,” the foundation states on its application page. Level of care will be assessed based on the award recipient’s needs.

To submit an application, fill the required form here. The deadline to apply is June 30.

A #JasonDavis campaign will run from June 5 until June 30, and people are invited to visit the foundation’s social media platforms on Facebook and Instagram.

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