The Cigna Foundation is inviting nonprofits working to create greater access to mental health services to apply for funding through its Healthier Kids For Our Future grant program, a five-year, $25 million global initiative to improve the health and well-being of children. The program will provide up to a total of $5 million in grants to community-based organizations over the next year.
Phase I of the program has focused on reducing childhood hunger and improving nutrition, awarding more than $4.5 million in grants to date. In Phase II, the program will add an additional focus area, addressing the mental health and well-being of children. (Nonprofits working to improve childhood hunger can still apply.)
Many families across the country are facing increased stress and anxiety. Prior to COVID-19, up to 20 percent of children and adolescents worldwide experienced mental illness, and the pandemic has shed light on a worsening mental health crisis, as both children and adults are struggling with anxiety, loneliness, and isolation. Cigna's 2018 Loneliness Index also found that Generation Z (ages 18-22) are the loneliest generation and claim to be in the worst health.
The foundation is looking to partner with school systems and surrounding communities — including clinicians, local and national nonprofits — to supplement existing mental health programming and help close gaps both within and outside the school environment to address loneliness, anxiety, depression, and suicide prevention. To that end, it will fund programs that foster collaboration between various stakeholders, including school administrators and teachers, clinicians, and local and national nonprofits.
Partners are encouraged to leverage one or more of the follow evidence-based programs:
- Trauma Informed Practices (TIPS)
- Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
- Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)
Applications must be submitted no later than September 30, 2020, by 5:00 p.m. EST.
To determine their grant eligibility, potential applicants should visit the Cigna Foundation website.