There is a mental health crisis among California's youth. Studies show up to one in five students in the U.S. has a serious mental health need, yet in California too few of those affected receive the help they need, according to Blue Shield of California, based in Oakland, California.
To address this issue, the payer is launching BlueSky, a multi-year effort in collaboration with the California Department of Education and nonprofit organizations such as Wellness Together, National Alliance on Mental Illness California, and DoSomething.org. The goal of the initiative is to enhance awareness, advocacy, and access to mental health resources for California's middle- and high school students.
The BlueSky initiative will provide additional mental health clinicians in schools, train teachers on the signs of mental health issues, and empower students with in-person and online mental health support resources.
"Mental and emotional health play an essential role in a person's overall well-being, starting in childhood," says Paul Markovich, president and CEO of Blue Shield of California. "We all face adversity, yet each person's future depends on his or her ability to cope with life's challenges. Our goal through Blue Shield of California BlueSky is to help students develop the resilience and emotional well-being today that will give them a lifetime of good health."
The BlueSky initiative uses a combination of school-level services and statewide initiatives, including:
• One-on-one therapy for students most in need
Through the work of nonprofit Wellness Together, BlueSky will bring additional mental health clinicians into schools to enhance access to care. This service is launching initially in 19 middle- and high schools, with a student body of more than 20,000 students in Oakland Unified and San Leandro Unified school districts in Alameda County, and Sweetwater Union, Oceanside Unified, and Juvenile Court & Community Schools in San Diego County.