Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey with LGBTQ+ leaders.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey welcomed the news. Photo: @MayorFrey.

United Health Foundation partners with Rainbow for $2 million boost to LGBTQ+ mental health services in Minnesota

It's a three-year commitment to support the behavioral health and well-being of LGBTQ+ communities.


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United Health Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the national UnitedHealth Group, recently announced a partnership worth $2 million to address disparities related to suicide, depression and anxiety among youth from diverse, LGBTQ+ young adults aged 14-25 in Minnesota.

Jacob Frey, Minneapolis Mayor, stated:

This work is extremely important because it signals yet another shift along this continuum as we move toward full inclusivity and justice. It requires all of us to step up and I am so glad that the United Health Foundation did just that.

Advocating for equity in healthcare

The partnership will support Rainbow Health, a nonprofit dedicated to advocating and serving the LGBTQ+ community, people living with HIV, and all those who face barriers to accessing equitable healthcare in Minnesota.

The initiative, which is out to provide high-quality, culturally responsive mental health and substance abuse services to more than 250 new clients, will connect them with supportive services such as transitional housing, health insurance, and transportation assistance to help address high rates of homelessness and other unmet social needs.

“We believe every person deserves the opportunity to live their healthiest life, and we are determined to do our part to break down the barriers to equitable health care, wherever they exist,” said Dr. Margaret-Mary Wilson, executive vice president and chief medical officer of UnitedHealth Group. 

The disparity in the data

According to a CDC report, 70% of LGBQ+ youth (the transgender population not included) were found to have experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness in the past year, and nearly 25% tried to commit suicide in the same time period.

The report also found that the percentage of teens of all racial and ethnic groups who felt persistently sad or hopeless increased over the past decade, with the highest rates among multiracial, Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native, and white youth. It also revealed that Black teens were more likely than Asian, Hispanic, and white teens to attempt suicide.

Four out of 5 LGBTQ+ respondents of all ages included in Rainbow Health's 2021 Voices of Health Survey reported experiencing moderate to severe mental distress at the time of the survey.

Twenty-three percent of LGBTQ+ respondents reported there being a time in the past year when they needed to see a doctor, but didn't because they thought they would be disrespected or mistreated as an LGBTQ+ person.

“At a time when LGBTQ+ youth are increasingly at risk across the country, now more than ever, affirming and accessible mental health care is essential. We are so grateful for partners like the United Health Foundation for stepping up to support this life-saving work and make a meaningful impact on reducing health disparities. Together we are fighting for a community where every child is important, valued and supported to be their authentic selves,” said Jeremy Hanson Willis, chief executive officer of Rainbow Health.


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