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UnityPoint Health Announces Sponsorship of Mental Wellness Education for Students

Oct 10, 2019 08:25AM ● By MED Magazine

UnityPoint Health today announced it is launching a new mental wellness program for middle and high school students in Iowa and Illinois. The interactive digital course, called Mental Wellness Basics, will equip students in grades eight through 10 with the knowledge and skills necessary to build, maintain and promote positive mental health in themselves and their peers.

According to NAMI, one in six U.S. youth (age six to 17) experience a mental health disorder each year. Mental Wellness Basics provides students with opportunities to explore their own mental health, identify challenges they may face and develop concrete strategies for managing those challenges. The course also increases students’ awareness of resources, empowering them with the knowledge, skills and language necessary to identify and support a peer in need or at risk. The program, sponsored by UnityPoint Health, is provided at no cost to students, educators or schools.

“Mental health is crucial to total health and wellness, especially in our young people,” said Sabra Rosener, vice president, government and external affairs, UnityPoint Health. “With this program, we can make a positive and lasting impact on teens while at the same time directly addressing a major public health need that was identified by nearly all of our communities.”

Mental Wellness Basics educates students about mental health issues by exposing them to the experiences of others in order to develop awareness and empathy, reduce stigma and provide facts on the prevalence and symptoms of mental health conditions.

The new program builds upon the successful launch of the UnityPoint Health Prescription Drug Safety Program, which reached more than 2,000 students in Iowa and Illinois during the 2017-2018 school year. The additional program expands the commitment of UnityPoint Health to providing middle and high school students with the education and skills needed to make healthy decisions. Both courses were developed by education technology innovator EVERFI, Inc.

Stigma about mental illness can result in misunderstandings, discrimination and treatment avoidance. EVERFI data indicates that students are most likely to reach out to a friend (45 percent) or parent (24 percent) when experiencing stress or emotional challenges. Only three percent indicated that they would reach out to a counselor, while five percent would not reach out to anyone at all.

The program is available to public, private, and parochial middle and high schools throughout the UnityPoint Health footprint in Iowa and Illinois. To see if the program is available in your area, and to learn how to bring the program to your school, please visit unitypoint.org/mentalwellness or contact Ashley Thompson at (515) 537-6089 or [email protected].