The United Health Foundation, the philanthropic foundation of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), today announced a three-year, $2 million grant partnership to address disparities related to suicide, depression and anxiety among LGBTQ+ and BIPOC youth and young adults ages 14-25 in Minnesota.
The partnership will support Rainbow Health, a nonprofit dedicated to advocating for and serving the LGBTQ+ community, people living with HIV, and all those facing barriers to equitable health care in Minnesota. The initiative will provide culturally responsive, high-quality mental health care and substance use services to more than 250 new clients and connect them to support services, such as transitional housing, health insurance and transportation assistance to help address high rates of homelessness and other unmet social needs.
“This work is extremely important because it signals yet another shift along this continuum as we move toward full inclusivity and justice,” said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. “It requires all of us to step up and I am so glad that the United Health Foundation did just that.”
“We believe every person deserves the opportunity to live their healthiest life, and we are determined to do our part to break down the barriers to equitable health care, wherever they exist,” said Dr. Margaret-Mary Wilson, executive vice president and chief medical officer, UnitedHealth Group. “This grant underscores our commitment to advancing health equity and improving health outcomes by increasing access to mental health care for LGBTQ+ and BIPOC youth in the Twin Cities.”
A new report from the CDC found 70% of LGBQ+* youth experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness during the past year and almost 25% attempted suicide during the past year. Additionally, the report found the percentage of adolescents across every racial and ethnic group who felt persistently sad or hopeless increased over the past 10 years, with the highest rates among multiracial, Hispanic, American Indian or Alaska Native and white youth. It also revealed Black adolescents were more likely than Asian, Hispanic, and white youth to attempt suicide.
In Minnesota, 4 of 5 LGBTQ+ respondents of all ages included in Rainbow Health’s 2021 Voices of Health Survey reported they were experiencing moderate to severe mental distress at the time of the survey. In addition, 23% of LGBTQ+ respondents reported that there was a time in the past year they needed to see a doctor but did not because they thought they would be disrespected or mistreated as an LGBTQ+ person.
“At a time when LGBTQ+ youth are increasingly at risk across the country, now more than ever, affirming and accessible mental health care is essential,” said Jeremy Hanson Willis, chief executive officer, Rainbow Health. “We are so grateful for partners like the United Health Foundation for stepping up to support this life-saving work and make a meaningful impact on reducing health disparities. Together we are fighting for a community where every child is important, valued and supported to be their authentic selves.”
*The CDC report does not include data from the Transgender population.
About Rainbow Health
For 40 years, Rainbow Health has been advocating for and serving the LGBTQ+ community, people living with HIV, and all those facing barriers to equitable health care in Minnesota. Rainbow Health is dedicated as ever to working for equitable health care access and outcomes for people who experience injustice at the intersection of health status and identity. Rainbow Health centers individuals and communities at risk of and living with HIV or facing barriers to equitable health care access and outcomes because of their identity as gender, sexual, and/or racial minorities. Visit rainbowhealth.org to learn more.
About the United Health Foundation
Through collaboration with community partners, grants and outreach efforts, the United Health Foundation works to improve the health system, build a diverse and dynamic health workforce and enhance the well-being of local communities. The United Health Foundation was established by UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation dedicated to improving health and health care. 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.