Investing in Adolescent Mental Health
June 16, 2022
Young people in South Carolina face a grim truth. Suicide rates among those ages 10 to 24 continue to rise according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Data from the South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH) shows the increase in suicide rates is most significant among children ages 10 to 14.
The BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation hopes to change that. The nonprofit is investing in programs that focus on the mental health and well-being of young people. Five South Carolina organizations will receive adolescent mental health (AMH) catalyst grants to increase mental health resources in schools and communities:
- Carolina Youth Development Center
- Communities in Schools of South Carolina
- Healthy Learners
- The University of South Carolina Institute for Families in Society
“Suicide is a leading cause of death for people ages 10 to 24 in South Carolina. These grantees are excited to work together to improve adolescent mental health,” says Bree Bess, program officer for the Foundation. “Already we have seen new connections and partnerships formed through this first cohort.”
Grantees will meet in June to discuss how they can work together to improve adolescent mental health. Many of their proposed projects focus on increasing access to mental health resources in communities and schools.
The scope of these projects is not limited to young people. Programs like those planned by Healthy Learners and the Institute for Families in Society aim to increase mental health awareness and access to resources for parents and community members. Other programs plan to improve awareness in schools and colleges.
“Awareness and early identification will be key to getting ahead of the curve and preventing mental health issues before they become more serious in our youth,” Bess says. “Each adolescent mental health catalyst grantee understands this and has shown through their work how committed they are to improving adolescent mental health.”
The BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
*The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the South Carolina Department of Mental Health are independent organizations that provide health information you might find helpful.
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