Kentucky partners with Anthem Medicaid to introduce mental health wellness course in schools

Warning: The subject matter of this report includes discussions of suicide. If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 for assistance.

LOUISVILLE — Anthem Medicaid revealed on Wednesday the launch of a no-cost digital mental wellness program now accessible to 1,512 students across 17 schools in Kentucky.

This initiative coincides with Mental Health Awareness month and mirrors an uptick in reports of depressive symptoms among adolescents, especially adolescent females, as highlighted by the CDC.

Known as “Understanding Mental Wellness,” this interactive educational offering is tailored for students in eighth to tenth grades. The course, developed by EVERFI from Blackbaud, comprises six modules, each lasting 15 minutes.

Anthem describes the program as a platform that introduces students to the realities of others to foster empathy, diminish stigma, and furnish information on the prevalence and signs of mental health conditions.

Participants are encouraged to “examine their own mental well-being, pinpoint potential obstacles, and devise effective strategies for coping with these challenges while gaining insight into available resources, thereby arming them with the expertise, skills, and language to identify and assist a struggling peer.”

Previews of the online curriculum guide individuals through a mental health journey, unfolding from an exploration of mental health concepts to the creation of a personalized wellness regimen.

Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a deterioration in mental health. According to a 2021 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, levels of sadness and hopelessness have surged beyond pre-pandemic rates, particularly among teenage girls. In 2017, 41% of female high school students and 21% of their male counterparts experienced feelings of sadness or despair. By 2021, these figures had risen to 57% and 29%, respectively.

“Young individuals necessitate resources and knowledge from credible sources to safeguard their mental health,” remarked Leon Lamoreaux, market president at Anthem Medicaid.

Lamoreaux emphasized that the “Understanding Mental Wellness” initiative “will allow us to engage students from all corners of the state and equip them with practical tools and strategies that will have a lasting positive impact on their lives.”

EVERFI CEO Tom Davidson stated that the primary aim behind developing this program was to benefit individuals dealing with mental health issues, those striving to enhance and uphold positive mental health, and those capable of positively influencing the mental well-being of a friend or peer.”

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