Partnership aims to improve mental health care for LGBTQ+ and BIPOC youth

March 22, 2023
  • A $2M United Health Foundation grant to Rainbow Health will help support the behavioral health and well-being of LGBTQ+ and BIPOC youth in Minnesota.


America is facing a youth mental health crisis, with LGBTQ+ and BIPOC youth experiencing challenges at higher rates.

Through a three-year, $2 million United Health Foundation grant, Rainbow Health plans to expand access to services and resources to address high rates of suicide, depression and anxiety among youth and young adults in Minnesota. For 40 years, Rainbow Health has advocated for and served the LGBTQ+ community, those living with HIV, and all people facing barriers to equitable health care.


“This work is extremely important because it signals yet another shift along this continuum as we move toward full inclusivity and justice. It requires all of us to step up and I am so glad that the United Health Foundation did just that.”

Mayor Jacob Frey | Minneapolis, MN


“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. This grant underscores our commitment to advancing health equity and improving health outcomes by increasing access to mental health care for the LGBTQ+ and BIPOC youth in the Twin Cities.”

Dr. Margaret-Mary Wilson | executive vice president and chief medical officer, UnitedHealth Group


By the numbers

A recent CDC report revealed several findings about the experiences of LGBQ+* adolescents across the United States, including:

Close to 70% of LGBQ+ youth experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness during the past year, more than 50% had poor mental health during the past 30 days, and, almost 25% attempted suicide during the past year.

*The CDC report does not include data from the Transgender population.

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.

4 out of 5 LGBTQIA Minnesotans have reported moderate to severe mental distress

Source: Rainbow Health’s 2021 Voices of Health Survey


“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. 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.”

Jeremy Hanson Willis | chief executive officer, Rainbow Health



The United Health Foundation grant will enable Rainbow Health to expand and serve more than 250 new people by:

  • Providing culturally responsive, high-quality mental health care and substance use services that reflect the needs of LGBTQ+ and BIPOC youth and young adults ages 14-25.
  • Connecting individuals to support services, such as transitional housing, health insurance and transportation assistance to help address high rates of homelessness and other unmet social needs among LGBTQ+ and BIPOC young adults.

This commitment is one of the many ways UnitedHealth Group is working to advance health equity by ensuring every person, regardless of race, place, or circumstance, has the opportunity to live their healthiest life. As of December 2022, UnitedHealth Group has contributed more than $35 million in 19 states and the District of Columbia to grant partners that are actively addressing youth mental health.

Go deeper

Read our 2021 Sustainability Report to learn more about our commitment to advancing health equity.