Utah is joining forces with 10 other states to create Youth Mental Health Corps, aimed at addressing the mental health crisis among young people while providing career pathways in the mental health sector. As one of the states awarded a planning grant, Utah is set to launch its own Corps in the fall of 2025, focusing on empowering young adults through service and addressing the urgent need for mental health professionals.

The Youth Mental Health Corps, a public-private partnership, was conceived by the Schultz Family Foundation and Pinterest and is supported by organizations like America’s Service Commissions, America Forward, and the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. This national initiative is designed to train Corps members, who will serve as navigators in schools and community-based organizations, aiding middle and high school students.

Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, and Texas will launch Youth Mental Health Corps starting in September 2024. Seven other states — California, Iowa, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and Utah — have received planning grants and intend to launch their own Corps in the fall of 2025.

“In Utah, we see service as a solution. Service brings people together, fosters deeper social connections, and strengthens communities,” says Loggins Merrill, Executive Director of UServeUtah. “We look forward to utilizing the power of service to launch the Youth Mental Health Corps to address the mental health crisis faced by our youth.” 

Corps members in Utah, as in other states, will receive on-the-job training, a stipend, and an educational credential that furthers their career. Additionally, they will be eligible for education awards to assist with higher education expenses or repay qualifying student loans.

One in three high school students reports persistent feelings of hopelessness, and many communities lack adequate mental health resources. By deploying hundreds of young adults into the workforce, the Youth Mental Health Corps not only addresses immediate needs but also builds a sustainable foundation for the future mental health infrastructure.

The program’s national scope and local impact highlight the potential of collaborative efforts to address significant societal challenges through innovative solutions. 

Anyone ages 18-24 with a high school diploma can apply to participate in the program at www.youthmentalhealthcorps.org.

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