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For immediate release: June 10, 2024
Contact: press@ocfs.ny.gov
Email: press@ocfs.ny.gov
Phone: 5184023130

NEW YORK STATE JOINS NEW NATIONAL INITIATIVE TO ADDRESS AMERICA’S YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS

 

New York joins 10 other states, the Schultz Family Foundation, Pinterest and AmeriCorps to launch country’s first Youth Mental Health Corps

In response to America’s youth mental health crisis, New York State is joining forces with 10 other states, 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.  

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 an area with a mental health professional shortage, where there is a shortage of more than 6,000 practitioners, according to the U.S. 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.

Sheri Kersch Schultz, Schultz Family Foundation co-founder and chair, said,
 “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.”  

Wanji Walcott, Pinterest Chief Legal Officer said,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.

Michael D. Smith, CEO, AmeriCorps, said, "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."

Linda Cohen, Executive Director, NYS Commission on National and Community Service said, “Governor Hochul has made addressing mental health challenges, particularly those faced by youth, a key focus of her administration. We are proud to work in tandem with our many partners, both in New York State government and our extensive network of nonprofits, to address those challenges in a unique and innovative way. We appreciate the confidence that the Schultz and Pinterest foundations have shown in us and are excited to be part of this new national network of state service commissions.”

 

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.

About the New York State Commission on National and Community Service

The New York State Commission on National and Community Service was established in 1994 by an Executive Order and Commission members are appointed by the Governor. They represent a diverse, bipartisan, and statewide network of interested citizens and supporters of service.

The Commission serves as the lead state entity responsible for networking volunteer resources and carrying out civic engagement initiatives as identified by the Governor. Commission members do not receive compensation but are eligible for reimbursement of related expenses. Every three years, the Commission produces a service plan for the state. The plan identifies and assesses the needs of the state, and outlines strategies and goals for addressing those needs through service and volunteerism.