Optum has a major impact in North Carolina, and beyond.

By Fly Pin High |
May 5, 2023

You are not alone.

The Optum Behavioral Healthcare is a company that aims to destigmatize mental health discussions, aiming to help adults and younger generations navigate everyday obstacles which have increased since the global pandemic tightened its grip in 2020.

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In that turbulent time, anxiety and depression increased in the U.S. 40% of Americans reported struggling with mental illness or substance abuse. In the past, less than half of adults received treatment. The numbers have not decreased since.

This data is shocking, but only a small portion of the larger population that suffers from poor mental health. This rapid rise has cast a shadow on younger adults and their families, as it negatively impacts their mental health.

While the rise of such negative aspects in mental health among children and adolescents can make it difficult to find solutions, there are still hope and help available. There is no better time than now for both.

Optum Behavioral Health uses May as Mental Health Awareness Month to highlight the importance of families having meaningful conversations. You and others can educate yourselves and each other on mental health conditions and treatments, including psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, medication or self-care.

This is a difficult task that many people avoid or ignore. Optum, in response, has developed “Conversation starters” to help parents and caregivers start these discussions.

The momentum is inspiring, but Optum’s efforts are not the only ones.

Recent grant announcements have also led to a collective activity, as the United Health Foundation (the philanthropic arm UnitedHealth Group which includes Optum, UnitedHealthcare and UnitedHealthcare) has funded resources via a grant to Active Minds.

The partnership will provide mental health education to students in middle school, an innovative implementation that will increase mental health awareness for young adults.

The philanthropic investment in North Carolina doesn’t end there. A grant partnership between East Carolina University increases the access of youth to mental health services in rural communities and underserved areas.

UnitedHealth Group has invested more than 35 million dollars in charitable partnerships across 19 states, including Washington, D.C., focusing on the development of school-based partnerships that improve youth behavioral healthcare, increase access to behavioral care services for children, and grow and diversify the behavioral health workforce.

Like all great stories, this one also features a hero’s journey. It is Rory McIlroy’s.

McIlroy, along with Jessica Korda and Mariah Stackhouse of the LPGA, is one three professional golfers that serve as Optum Ambassadors. McIlroy, along with Jessica Korda of the LPGA and Mariah Stackhouse from the LPGA, has been at forefront in the destigmatization. He even made it known that he was absent from the RBC Heritage, Hilton Head, S.C. for mental health issues.

This is a refreshing and groundbreaking stance. An athlete who is known for his strength, toughness and mentality serves as a familiar figure for millions of people in need.

His return to Quail Hollow, Charlotte, N.C. for the Wells Fargo Championship was made even more special by the surprise birthday serenade that he received from 34 local children before his Wednesday practice round .

Each kid shared their own mental health tips along with the 34th birthday greetings.

What’s the best part of Rory’s surprise tournament start?

The cake also featured a headcover that was familiar to Rory, a four-time major winner.

Photo by Stan Badz photography

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