United Health Foundation Launches $3 Million Partnership with Active Minds to Help Address The Youth Mental Health Crisis


With 19 years of impact and a presence on more than 1,000 campuses, schools, communities and workplaces across the country, Active Minds reduces the stigma around mental health, creates communities of support and saves lives. This funding will enable the organization to launch a pilot program in 50 school districts in Minnesota, North Carolina and Florida to better serve youth mental health at the middle school level for the first time.

This new partnership will address key learnings from 2022 from the United Health Foundation America’s Health Rankings Health of Women and Children Report. The report released today shows a sharp rise in mental health problems among adolescents:

  • Anxiety in children aged 3-17 increased by 23% between 2017-2018 and 2020-2021. In 2020-2021, anxiety affected around 5.6 million children aged 3-17 – an increase of more than 1 million children since 2017-2018.

  • Depression in children aged 3-17 increased by 27% between 2017-2018 and 2020-2021. Depression affected around 2.5 million children aged 3-17 years in 2020-2021, an increase of over half a million children from 2017-2018.

  • Nationally, the teen suicide rate increased by 29% among 15-19 year olds between 2012-2014 and 2018-2020.

“Many mental health disorders can begin as young as 14, so it is critical that we offer promotion, prevention and early intervention strategies to equip younger youth with the tools and coping skills needed to proactively manage and care for their mental health” said Alison Malmon , CEO and founder of Active Minds. “As with many other diseases, mental health promotion strategies can be a powerful tool to help young people thrive.”

Funding from the United Health Foundation will enable Active Minds to address these challenges. Building on Active Minds’ evidence-based approach to improving the mental health of college and high school students, the pilot program will address the social and emotional needs of middle school students, improve attitudes about mental health, reduce stigma, and increase a student’s likelihood of having one Helping friend with mental health problems. After the pilot, Active Minds plans to launch middle school programs nationwide.

“Our young people are the future of healthy, strong communities. We look forward to helping youth gain skills to counter the alarming rise in adolescent mental health,” said Dr. Rhonda Randall, Chief Medical Officer, United Healthcare Employers and Individuals. “We must work together to expand evidence-based solutions for our young people to thrive.”

More information about 2022 America’s Health Rankings Health of Women and Children Reportvisit www.AmericasHealthRankings.org.

About the United Health Foundation

Through collaborations with community partners, grants, and outreach, the United Health Foundation works to improve our healthcare system, build a diverse and vibrant healthcare workforce, and improve the well-being of local communities. The United Health Foundation was established in 1999 by UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) as a non-profit, private foundation dedicated to improving health and healthcare. To date, the United Health Foundation has committed more than $700 million to programs and communities around the world. To learn more, visit www.UnitedHealthFoundation.org.

About ActiveMinds

Active Minds was founded by Alison Malmon in 2000 after the suicide of her older brother. Now Active Minds is present in more than 1,000 locations, schools, communities and workplaces each year. Active Minds was named a best practice program in the US Surgeon General’s guide on Protecting Youth Mental Health, and the organization recently participated in the first White House Mental Health Youth Action Forum. In 2021, Optum partnered with Active Minds to support a study into the wellbeing of people in the hospitality industry as part of the Active Minds’ @ Work program.

About America’s Health Rankings

For over three decades America’s health rankings® has assessed the nation’s health and provided data-driven insights to support better health outcomes and build healthier communities. Produced by the United Health Foundation, America’s health rankings evaluates a comprehensive set of health, environmental, and socioeconomic data to highlight both health challenges and achievements, determine national and state health benchmarks, and enable stakeholders to take action to improve health.


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