June 23, 2024
Eleven States Launch New Initiative to Address America’s Youth Mental Health Crisis

Eleven States Launch New Initiative to Address America’s Youth Mental Health Crisis

The Schultz Family Foundation, Pinterest, and AmeriCorps partner with states to create country’s first Youth Mental Health Corps

In response to America’s youth mental health crisis, 11 states are joining forces with the Schultz Family Foundation, Pinterest and AmeriCorps to recruit, train, and deploy the nation’s first Youth Mental Health Corps to help teenagers access critical mental health resources.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20240515994224/en/

Eleven States Launch New Initiative to Address America’s Youth Mental Health Crisis

Learn more and apply to become a Corps member at www.YouthMentalHealthCorps.org (Graphic: Business Wire)

The new Youth Mental Health Corps is an innovative, public-private collaboration, with a robust set of partners that include America’s Service Commissions, America Forward, and the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. The Corps will address the growing needs of young people while creating career pathways to address the national shortage of mental-health professionals. Corps members will be trained as navigators serving middle and high school students in schools and in community-based organizations.

Corps members will gain valuable on-the-job experience, receive a stipend, and earn a credential to advance their career. They will also be eligible for education awards to pursue higher education or pay back qualifying student loans.

One in three high school students report persistent feelings of hopelessness, and approximately 122 million people live in a Mental Health Professional Shortage Area, where there is a shortage of more than 6,000 practitioners, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

There is also broad concern about the impact of social media on the mental health of young people. Youth Mental Health Corps members will work directly with students to develop trust, share resources for digital and media literacy, and help students navigate social challenges online such as harassment, bullying and bias.

The Youth Mental Health Corps seeks to address the crisis by leveraging the power of national service. Conceived by the Schultz Family Foundation and Pinterest, the program was developed in consultation with hundreds of experts and practitioners. Both organizations will provide financial support to participating state service commissions to design and adapt the initiative to meet local needs, including providing training and credentials at no cost to Corps members. AmeriCorps, the federal agency for service and volunteerism, will provide operating support to organizations hosting members, as well as stipends and education awards to Corps members.

Hundreds of Corps members will be deployed in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, and Texas starting in September 2024. Seven other states— California, Iowa, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and Utah—have received planning grants and intend to launch their own Corps in the fall of 2025. As the program expands, thousands of young adults will participate each year, providing mental-health support to tens of thousands of teens.

Anyone ages 18-24 with a high school diploma can apply at www.youthmentalhealthcorps.org.


  • “National service is a win-win for addressing the teen mental-health crisis because it allows young adults to support each other peer-to-peer while gaining valuable skills and experience, getting paid, and earning a credential. The Youth Mental Health Corps demonstrates the power of philanthropy, business, government, and non-profits partnering to create innovative solutions to critical national challenges.” – Sheri Kersch Schultz, Schultz Family Foundation co-founder and chair

  • “At Pinterest, we’re committed to creating an inspirational and positive online experience for young people. Supporting youth mental health requires everyone across the industry coming together, and we’re proud to support the Youth Mental Health Corps. Together, we’re leveraging our collective expertise to provide youth-led mental health resources and meet young people where they are.” – Wanji Walcott, Pinterest Chief Legal Officer

  • “We are at a critical moment where we must act with urgency to address the mental health crisis that is impacting millions of our children. I am incredibly thankful for our grantees and partners at America Forward, Pinterest, and Schultz Family Foundation for standing up Youth Mental Health Corps. This innovative cross-sector partnership will build on AmeriCorps’ 30 years of hands on experience supporting youth mental health and well being. AmeriCorps members will serve as peer support specialists and navigators at schools and in communities to connect students with care.” – Michael D. Smith, CEO, AmeriCorps

  • “Young people across the country are facing unprecedented challenges to their mental health and wellbeing, and the impact of these challenges extends beyond the young people themselves to their families and communities. America Forward is proud to partner with the Schultz Family Foundation, Pinterest, and AmeriCorps to leverage the proven power of national service and nonprofit community organizations to help young people thrive. The Youth Mental Health Corps presents a unique opportunity to innovate and create a valuable, multi-sector roadmap for funders, partners, and policymakers to both support young people and create vital on-ramps to mental health careers.” – Deborah Smolover, Executive Director of America Forward and Managing Partner of New Profit

  • “In California, we are seeing the transformative power of service. Not only do paid service opportunities transform communities, but they also have the power to connect individuals, and create a greater sense of belonging – all things that promote mental health and well-being. These kinds of initiatives empower young Californians to support each other while gaining valuable skills and experience, getting paid, and starting a career.” – Josh Fryday, California Chief Service Officer

  • “Colorado’s commitment to the mental well-being of our youth is unwavering. By joining this national initiative, we are not only addressing the urgent need for mental health resources but also creating meaningful pathways for our young adults to pursue careers in this vital field. Together, we will make a tangible difference in the lives of Colorado youth, empowering them to navigate the challenges they face with resilience and hope while addressing shortages in the behavioral health workforce.” – Dianne Primavera, Lieutenant Governor of Colorado

  • “At Volunteer Iowa, we recognize there is a critical need for mental health support and are committed to continuing to invest in services and education programs in Iowa. Volunteer Iowa is grateful to have received a planning grant for Youth Mental Health Corps, and we look forward to partnering with experts in community-based and behavioral health to better serve our youth across the state.” – Angela Jiskoot, Volunteer Iowa’s Commission Chair

  • “In Maryland, we are seeing how the power of service can empower young people to be leaders in their communities and are proud to expand our programming through the Youth Mental Health Corps. It is imperative that young people are the forefront of addressing the mental health crisis and we could not be more thrilled to build a sustainable pathway to support young change-makers impacting the field.” – Sarah Flammang, Deputy Secretary of the Maryland Department of Service and Civic Innovation and Interim Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Service and Volunteerism

  • “AmeriCorps members are a tremendous resource for Michigan in helping solve the state’s pressing issues and youth mental health is one of those critical needs. AmeriCorps members can help fill the gap in the professional mental health care shortage and make a connection with youth. We are proud to be part of this groundbreaking partnership and look forward to seeing the impact it will have on Michigan’s future.” – Ginna Holmes, Michigan Community Service Commission Executive Director

  • “We’re proud to be part of this groundbreaking effort on an issue that needs serious attention. We’ve heard from communities across Minnesota that they need more support around mental health, and we’re excited to grow our Recovery Corps and Promise Fellows programs to meet those needs. We look forward to recruiting additional AmeriCorps members to better serve Minnesota’s youth and fuel the pipeline of mental health providers.” – Julia Quanrud, CEO of ServeMinnesota

  • “As a policy-maker and a parent of four young women, I know that we are seeing an increase in mental health issues, especially among young people. We are proud to be among the first states developing a Youth Mental Health Corps, bringing young people together in community to strengthen mental health.” – Tahesha Way, Lieutenant Governor overseeing AmeriCorps New Jersey and the Governor’s Office of Volunteerism in her capacity as New Jersey Secretary of State

  • “In Texas, we are committed to growing the mental health workforce and ensuring our students have access to the resources they need in school. We are honored to partner with Communities In Schools as one of the first states to implement the Youth Mental Health Corps and offer school-based mental health navigator career development opportunities for young people, while they provide critical wrap-around services to middle and high school students.” – Chris Bugbee, President & CEO, OneStar Foundation

  • “By working to leverage AmeriCorps resources to address critical community needs, this new program will serve youth who are often unable to access mental health resources. Serve Virginia is uniquely positioned to lead this effort and we are grateful for the opportunity to convene state-wide partners in the work of realizing the Virginia Youth Mental Health Corps.” Kathy Spangler, Director of Serve Virginia

  • “In Utah, we see service as a solution. Service brings people together, fosters deeper social connections, and strengthens communities. We look forward to utilizing the power of service to launch the Youth Mental Health Corps to address the mental health crisis faced by our youth.” – Loggins Merrill, Executive Director of UServeUtah

About the Schultz Family Foundation

The Schultz Family Foundation’s mission is to create greater opportunity, accessible to all. Our work is deeply rooted in the lives and values of our co-founders, Sheri and Howard Schultz, who believe talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not. We seek to apply the lessons they have learned over the decades to seed innovations and scale solutions to help young people successfully navigate the transition to adulthood and positively impact the trajectory of their lives. We are investors in unleashing potential and unlocking opportunity, working in partnership with employers, entrepreneurs, non-profits, and governments that share our aspiration of enabling everyone to access the full promise of America. Learn more at: www.schultzfamilyfoundation.org

About Pinterest

Pinterest is a visual search and discovery platform where people find inspiration, curate ideas, and shop products—all in a positive place online. Headquartered in San Francisco, Pinterest launched in 2010 and has over half a billion monthly active users worldwide.

About AmeriCorps

AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and volunteerism, provides opportunities for Americans to serve their country domestically, address the nation’s most pressing challenges, improve lives and communities, and strengthen civic engagement. Each year, the agency places more than 200,000 AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers in intensive service roles; and empowers millions more to serve as long-term, short-term, or one-time volunteers. Learn more at AmeriCorps.gov.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20240515994224/en/

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