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Delving into mental health care. Photo: Pixabay.

New alliance allocates $3 million to address youth mental health

The three-year commitment will address data revealed by the 2022 America’s Health Rankings Health of Women and Children Report.


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United Health Foundation, the philanthropic foundation of UnitedHealth Group, in partnership with Active Minds, a leading nonprofit organization that promotes mental health awareness and education for young adults, present this valuable initiative that seeks to strengthen their strategies for the care of young adults mental health.

This funding will allow the organization to launch a pilot program in 50 school districts in Minnesota, North Carolina and Florida to better address the mental health of youth in middle school for the first time.

Alison Malmon, Executive Director and founder of Active Minds, stated:

Just like many other illnesses, mental health promotion strategies can be powerful tools for helping young people thrive.

Created by Malmon 19 years ago following the suicide of her brother, Active Minds, now present on more than 1,000 campuses, schools, communities and workplaces across the country, works to reduce the stigma around mental health, creating supportive communities and saving lives.

Worrying results

The initiative will address key findings from the 2022 America’s Health Rankings Health of Women and Children Report, which reveals sharp increases in youth mental health challenges, such as: 

  • Anxiety among children ages 3-17 increased 23% between 2017-2018 and 2020-2021. In 2020-2021, anxiety affected roughly 5.6 million children ages 3-17 — an increase of more than 1 million children since 2017-2018.
  • Depression among children ages 3-17 increased 27% between 2017-2018 and 2020-2021. In 2020-2021, depression affected roughly 2.5 million children ages 3-17, an increase of over a half a million more children than in 2017-2018.
  • The teen suicide rate increased 29% at the national level between 2012-2014 and 2018-2020 among 15- to 19-year-olds.

“Many mental health disorders can start by age 14, so it’s critical that we provide promotion, prevention, and early intervention strategies to equip younger adolescents with the necessary tools and coping skills to proactively manage and care for their mental health,” highlighted Malmon.

Pilot program

Based on evidence from Active Minds to improve the mental health of high school and college students, resources will be used to address the social and emotional needs of high school students, thereby seeking to improve attitudes related to mental health and decrease stigma around this one.

After the pilot program, Active Minds plans to launch programs for middle schools across the country.

“Our young people are the future of healthy, strong communities. We look forward to helping youth gain skills to help counter the alarming increases we are seeing in youth mental health. We must work together to expand evidence-based solutions to help our young people thrive,” said Dr. Rhonda Randall, Chief Medical Officer, UnitedHealthcare Employer and Individual.

For more information on the 2022 America's Health Rankings Women's and Children's Health Report, click here.


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