Leidos is empowering teenagers through mental health literacy
Photo: Getty Images
Leidos and EVERFI from Blackbaud, an organization tackling social issues through education and technology, are empowering teenagers in Maryland and West Virginia with mental health literacy.
Why you should know: It's a response to the teenage mental health crisis which is worsening amid a nationwide shortage of mental health professionals:
- According to the CDC, teenagers in the U.S. are experiencing unprecedented levels of mental distress.
- According to recent data, intentional self-harm is the third-leading cause of death among teenagers.
- According to the U.S. Surgeon General, mental health disorders are the leading cause of disability and poor life outcomes for young people.
Mental health basics: Through the strategic partnership, which began in 2020, nearly 3,500 middle school and high school students at nearly 60 schools have completed a first-of-its-kind digital learning course called Understanding Mental Wellness.
Veronica Lee, Sr. Director of Enterprise Account Management at EVERFI, said the course is designed to destigmatize mental health topics and help students develop skills to support their emotional wellbeing.
- “We know the mental wellbeing of teenagers impacts every aspect of their lives,” says Lee, “and we know there’s a direct correlation between mental wellness and academic performance. We’re really supporting the ‘whole student approach’ in education.”
Early success: Lee said after completing the course, 90% of students say they feel more confident in managing a mental health crisis, 83% say they have a better understanding of how to stay mentally healthy and 75% say they feel more comfortable talking to a friend about mental health challenges.
- “It’s a high-quality, interactive and engaging tool that helps students become more literate on these topics,” she said. “We have phenomenal experts in digital curriculums and instructional design who make sure we’re speaking to today’s student and that our content is relevant and fresh. And because of strategic partners like Leidos, this resource is available at no cost to schools.”
Daniel Pellegrom, Leidos Director of Environment, Sustainability and Governance (ESG) said the program has shown meaningful success.
- “Supporting youth is so important when we’re talking about this crisis,” says Pellegrom. “What I love about this strategic partnership is it allows us to act locally, impact our communities and help give our children the support they need."
Pellegrom added the program is part of the company’s broader Mission for the Mind campaign to advance mental health solutions.
Most importantly: If you’re having suicidal thoughts, there are people who want to help you. You can speak to someone at the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. If you’re a veteran in crisis, please contact the Veterans Crisis Line.
October 10 is World Mental Health Day.
Please contact the Leidos media relations team for more information.