Rocky Mountain Health Plans, a UnitedHealth Group company (NYSE: UNH), is donating $300,000 to YouthZone to foster positive youth development for teens across Colorado’s Western Slope. The three-year contribution will help YouthZone expand its services to school-based settings and deliver mental health and substance abuse support to at least 470 youth and their families annually.
“Supporting youth mental health has never been more important than it is today, during the pandemic. We are proud to add YouthZone as a partner in the Healthy Youth/Strong Colorado Fund to expand the available mental health and wellness programs for youth in Western Colorado,” said Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser. “I’d like to thank Rocky Mountain Health Plans and UnitedHealth Group for this meaningful contribution and for their partnership to support youth mental health and wellness in Colorado.”
The YouthZone programs and services that will be expanded include counseling, substance use education, restorative conversations and circles, and life skills training.
“There couldn’t be a better time to increase support for youth mental health,” said Jami Hayes, executive director of YouthZone. “This generous support from Rocky Mountain Health Plans will help us serve more young people as we’re seeing the needs skyrocket.”
The donation by Rocky Mountain Health Plans completes the $5 million pledge that created the “Healthy Youth/Strong Colorado Fund,” a collaborative partnership with the Colorado attorney general’s office to expand nonprofit mental health resources and services to empower youth, as well as to help avoid criminal justice system involvement and address the school-to-prison pipeline. It is part of the overall $30 million contribution by UnitedHealth Group to Colorado nonprofit organizations focused on advancing health equity that was announced in April 2021. In addition to YouthZone, this includes grant partnerships with:
- Mile High Youth Corps, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, and Western Colorado Conservation Corps, to provide a new criminal justice diversion program promoting employment, education, mental health support and service opportunities.
- Boys & Girls Clubs in Colorado, to expand programming and serve more youth across the state.
- Sources of Strength, to expand access to youth suicide prevention programs in schools.
- The Center on Colfax, to support career counseling and empowerment for LGBTQ young adults, as well as mental health services.
- The Place, to increase stability and support for youth experiencing homelessness in El Paso County.
- The Rocky Mountain Health Foundation, to fund STEM education among young women and people of color as well as other programs across the Western Slope.
“Before the pandemic, health care providers had been seeing a growing need for mental health and substance-misuse supports for youth and families,” said Alyssa Rose, executive director of Rocky Mountain Health Plans, Community & State. “We are honored to support YouthZone and expand access to mental health services to meet the needs of youth who need support.”
Established in 1976, YouthZone is focused on fostering positive youth development for teens across Colorado’s Western Slope. It offers assessment and counseling services for both youth and parents, and has close relationships with school systems and law enforcement who refer at-risk youth to YouthZone for help.
About UnitedHealth Group
UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) is a diversified health care company dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and helping to make the health system work better for everyone. UnitedHealth Group offers a broad spectrum of products and services through two distinct platforms: UnitedHealthcare, which provides health care coverage and benefits services; and Optum, which provides information and technology-enabled health services. For more information, visit UnitedHealth Group at www.unitedhealthgroup.com or follow @UnitedHealthGrp on Twitter.