Blue Shield of California Provides Additional $300,000 in Grants to Community Groups Supporting Youth Mental Health
Nonprofit health plan supports community safety net for young Californians
OAKLAND, Ca – Blue Shield of California continues to show its commitment to youth resilience programs in California, announcing another $300,000 in grants to nonprofit organizations addressing mental health issues in San Diego and Alameda Counties. This builds on the company’s multi-year, $10 million investment in youth mental health.
The grants are part of Blue Shield’s ongoing BlueSky initiative, a multi-year effort to enhance awareness, advocacy and access to mental health support for middle and high school students in California. The initiative was launched last fall and provides behavioral health counseling services for students in Oakland, San Leandro and several districts in San Diego County.
“Building on the success of our BlueSky program, we are adding additional support to reach youth who are unable to participate in school-based mental health services due to COVID-19,” said Kimberley Goode, senior vice president of External Affairs for Blue Shield. “We want to support as many nonprofit groups as we can to help them use innovative ways to increase youth resilience. This funding will help these organizations provide programming for more teens who are struggling with everyday stressors.”
The $300,000 will be divided into 18 different grants – nine each in Alameda and San Diego Counties. These organizations were chosen because of their range of health interventions that include arts, sports, advocacy, music, leadership, multi-lingual/cultural, sexual and gender identity, and mental health tele-counseling. (See below for a list of all the grantees)
“We applaud Blue Shield of California for their generosity, especially in these uncertain times,” said Rebecca Brown, Ph.D., senior director of Development and Data at Oakland-based Youth Uprising. “We are preparing to roll out provision of hot meals to those who we serve and are also continuously working to connect young people to peer counselors. This funding will go a long way towards making those program improvements happen.”
“When the pandemic struck, we had to fully transform our operations in a few days’ time to accommodate the influx of need in the community,” said Cara Dessert, Esq, chief executive officer of the San Diego LGBT Community Center. “We immediately shifted individual therapy sessions so they could safely and effectively be done via Zoom and opened an emergency help phone line to ensure people could get resources and referrals. Because of Blue Shield’s altruism, we will be able to continue with that good work and ultimately assist more people.”
BlueSky is a multi-year commitment by Blue Shield to support mental health for middle- and high school students in California by providing additional clinicians in schools and training for school teachers on the signs of mental health issues, and empowering students with in-person and online mental health support resources.
Since last fall, the BlueSky initiative has provided more than 3,000 counseling sessions in 19 schools in Alameda and San Diego Counties. In addition, students across the nation have shared nearly 60,000 stress-reducing tips and suggestions for their peers as part of The New State of Mind campaign that began in April in collaboration with DoSomething.org, the largest organization for young people and social change in the nation.
About Blue Shield of California
Blue Shield of California strives to create a healthcare system worthy of our family and friends that is sustainably affordable. Blue Shield of California is a tax paying, nonprofit, independent member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association with over 4 million members, 6,800 employees and more than $20 billion in annual revenue. Founded in 1939 in San Francisco and now headquartered in Oakland, Blue Shield of California and its affiliates provide health, dental, vision, Medicaid and Medicare healthcare service plans in California. The company has contributed more than $500 million to Blue Shield of California Foundation since 2002 to have an impact on California communities.
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