Submitted by UnitedHealthcare of Washington
UnitedHealthcare Community Plan donated $40,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Washington State (BGCWA) to support youth mental health programs across the state, including in rural areas. With these funds, multiple Pierce County clubs are implementing anti bullying programs, anti-drug and peer support programs designed to build self-confidence. Funds are also going toward programs focused on nutrition and physical activity which can play a role in improving mental health.
Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound benefiting from this donation include the Cheney Family Branch, the Eastside Branch, the North Mason Branch in Belfair, the Bremerton Branch and Bremerton Teen Center. All have received funds to support existing or new programs to help youth live healthier lives.
“We know that good health depends on more than good health care. Boys & Girls Clubs have a unique ability to support vulnerable youth and teens in Washington’s communities and create programs that can have a positive impact on their health and quality of life,” said Doug Bowes, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan.
Clubs in the South Puget Sound offer a variety of activities aimed at creating healthy lifestyles including one-on-one and small group mentoring and other locally developed youth initiatives focused around academic success, character and citizenship and healthy lifestyles.
“We are so grateful for our partnership with UnitedHealthcare Community Plan. Early engagement and support is crucial to improving outcomes for mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety,” said Katya Miltimore, executive director of Boys & Girls Clubs of Washington State.
Mental health issues put youth at an increased risk for substance abuse, dropping out of school, involvement in the juvenile justice system and suicide. Studies show that about half of Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health disorder sometime in their life, with first onset usually in childhood or adolescence.
“For many youth, the club is the first place they turn to for support as they experience challenges at home or school,” said Miltimore. “This funding enables us to provide a safe environment to educate young people.”
Made possible through the Healthy Lifestyle Partnership, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan has identified these clubs and 15 others across the state in need, including many in rural counties. May is also Mental Health Awareness Month.
UnitedHealthcare Community Plan presented the Boys & Girls Clubs of Washington State with a check at the annual Boys & Girls Clubs of Washington Youth of the Year gala in March, a program that recognizes Washington youth for their service to the Boys & Girls Club and the community.