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Adler University Receives Grant from Cigna Foundation to Support Community Partnership Expanding Youth Mental Health Services

University News | 10.19.21

Adler University has been awarded a generous grant from Cigna Foundation to support Adler’s partnerships in the Chicago community. Cigna Foundation has awarded Adler University $100,000 from Cigna Foundation’s Healthier Kids for Our Future® initiative to fund Adler Community Health Services’ (ACHS) new partnership with After School Matters.

Since 1972, ACHS has provided trauma-informed clinical and community mental health services through a community-embedded service model and clinical training program. ACHS’ master’s and doctoral level students, in partnership with After School Matters (ASM), provide comprehensive mental health services to Chicago youth who have experienced trauma including individual and group counseling and training workshops for ASM instructors.

In the U.S., one in five youth suffer from a diagnosable emotional, mental, or behavioral disorder, yet the majority of youth who need care do not receive it. Barriers to access include lack of or limited health insurance for care, social stigma, or lack of problem recognition by teachers and parents. BIPOC youth in particular are less likely than white adolescents to receive needed mental health care. When they do receive care, it is often of lower quality than the care received by their peers. The consequences of untreated mental health disorders are profound, including greater risk for poor academic outcomes, suicide, substance use, and unemployment in adulthood.[1]

Through this grant, Adler University will be able to break through these barriers and increase services accessed by the youth who need them. Nearly 19,000 youth in Chicago’s most under-resourced communities now have access to ACHS’ free trauma-informed behavioral health services. Since the start of the ACHS and After School Matters partnership, ASM has seen an 805% increase in services accessed by Chicago teens.

“We are proud to support the important work that Adler Community Health Services and After School Matters are doing to address youth mental health in our community,” said Brian Marsella, Midwest Market President for Cigna. “Through the Healthier Kids For Our Future initiative, Cigna is supporting programming like this to help communities and organizations better address the mental health and emotional well-being of children today, so they can grow into healthier adults tomorrow.”

Cigna Foundation’s Healthier Kids for Our Future® is a global initiative that aims to address youth challenges such as poverty, hunger, health and well-being. Launched in 2019, the initiative invests in the expansion of accessible mental health services focused on treating growing numbers of loneliness, anxiety, depression and suicide prevention.

Adler University is honored to receive this grant from Cigna Foundation. Through this grant, ACHS will be able to provide much-needed services to more Chicago youth each year.



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