Senam Akyea, a high school student in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, knew this wouldn’t be a typical school year. Throughout the uncertainty of the pandemic and following the civil unrest from last summer, she knows her peers are feeling stress and anxiety.
“A big thing that’s going on right now is the mental health crisis among high school students and the collective trauma that we’ve all experienced. I think a lot of students are struggling with that."
To help address the need for mental health resources for students, UnitedHealth Group provided a $1M grant to Minnesota Community Care, the state’s largest federally qualified health center. The grant supports the use of mobile health teams and school-based clinics to serve underserved youth in St. Paul with primary care, mental health support, social work services and pharmacy services during the pandemic, among several other programs.
School-based therapists and health educators conduct therapy and coaching sessions with students, virtually and in person, to share coping strategies and support teens through difficult transitions including remaining at home and returning to in-person school. Minnesota Community Care’s mobile health team has also increased its presence at community-based locations to connect clients to needed services, provide financial support to clients in need of emergency assistance, and address food insecurity.
“2020 challenged our society in many ways, but it was not without hope..."
“2020 challenged our society in many ways, but it was not without hope. Communities, health systems and leaders stepped up and together worked to address challenges our country has struggled with for years — racial inequality, social determinants of health, and the affordability of and access to preventive care,” said Reuben Moore, president of Minnesota Community Care. “We are grateful to UnitedHealth Group for choosing to join hands with us and work together to bring care and support directly to people where they are, whether that’s in schools, neighborhoods or shelters.”
Following the murder of George Floyd and the historic civil unrest that followed, UnitedHealth Group announced commitments to help restore and rebuild the health of Minneapolis-St. Paul. The partnership with Minnesota Community Care is part of an ongoing effort to advance equity and inclusivity in the Twin Cities.
“Between the pandemic and the widespread destruction following George Floyd’s murder, this has been a difficult chapter in the Twin Cities,” said Phil McKoy, chief information officer, Optum, a UnitedHealth Group company. “We are grateful to trusted partners like Minnesota Community Care, which is helping those in need with support during these historic times.”