HHS Announces $350,000 for Innovative, Community-Led Solutions

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced $350,000 Phase I awards of $25,000 each to 14 finalists for their community-led solutions to promote resilience in children and adolescents under the of the HHS Children and Youth Resiliency Challenge.

The Resilience Challenge funds community-led solutions that:

  • Promote resilience and promote mental health and wellbeing among children and young people.
  • Reduce the risk of negative mental health outcomes among children and youth
  • Promote positive strategies and solutions that help children and young people thrive.
  • Identify and elevate promising practices that promote culturally and linguistically responsive protective factors.

Children and youth in the United States are experiencing a profound mental health crisis. Between Young people ages 12 to 17 who experienced a major depressive episode.almost half perceived that the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected their mental health. Emergency Department Visits for children’s mental health problems have also increased significantly. These patterns are intensified among children and adolescents exposed to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

“Promoting our children and young people’s ability to adapt in the face of adversity is essential to avoiding long-term negative mental health outcomes and improving the well-being of individuals and their communities. Our approach must be inclusive, comprehensive and community-led,” said HHS Deputy Secretary Andrea Palm. “That’s the approach we’ve taken with the HHS Roadmap for Behavioral Health Integration. And thanks to President Biden, we are finally and seriously saying to Americans struggling with their mental health: we hear you. The support is here.”

Last May, HHS announced the launch of a $1 million Children and Youth Resilience Challenge as part of the President’s Unity Agenda and Mental Health Strategy. The Challenge is also an initiative of the HHS Behavioral Health Coordinating Council Subcommittee for Children and Youth and is included as part of the HHS Roadmap for Behavioral Health Integration.

A challenge (also known as a “prize contest”) is a way for federal agencies to collaborate and engage the public directly to find creative ideas or solutions to important problems. This first Children and Youth Resilience Challenge funds innovative, community-led solutions to promote resilience in children and adolescents, from birth to age 24, affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and other disasters. HHS strongly encouraged proposals from community-based organizations that serve children, youth-led organizations, and teams that partner with community-based and youth-led organizations.

This July, HHS received more than 500 submissions outlining diverse, culturally relevant, community-based ideas on how to promote resilience among children and youth. This extraordinary response was one of the largest in Challenge.gov history.

“The overwhelming interest in this Challenge across the country underlines both the urgency of addressing the mental health of children and young people post-pandemic but also the inspiring wealth of creativity and innovation in our communities.” said Assistant Secretary of Health Admiral Rachel L. Levine, MD. “Communities truly are the best problem solvers and we look forward to partnering with and learning from these 14 innovators over the next eight months.”

The 14 Phase I Finalists will have access to intensive technical assistance and a learning community to support the implementation of their solutions in Phase II between September 2023 and May 2024. At the end of Phase II, the Finalists will be able to compete for the final prize. One grand prize winner will receive $300,000 and up to two runners-up will receive $175,000 each.

Finalists of Phase I of the Children and Youth Resilience Challenge

Location Project’s name Membership Age range
Pennsylvania Detection of ACEs in well-child visits to create a clinic adapted to the level of risk for community response (ALLIANCE) Geisinger early childhood
DC A two-generation approach to building resilience in children and young people Briya Public Charter School early childhood
Kentucky Building resilience in Louisville youth Kentucky Youth Advocates, Inc. school age
MY Cody Calm Center Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance CDC Teenager, Young Adult
California FostrSpace: Peer-Led Digital Health Resilience Building for Youth in Foster Care University of California, San Francisco Teenager, Young Adult
northeast Champions of Hope Network Harmony Project Teenager, school age
California Nate’s Place, a wellness and recovery center Nate’s Place, a wellness and recovery center Teenager, Young Adult
Arkansas Conscious Affairs Project Benton County Boys and Girls Club Teenager, school age
New Mexico Radical Hope Project: Mental/Behavioral Health Supports for Indigenous Youth National Indian Youth Leadership Project Teen
THE ReACTion: Exploring the healing power of creative spaces Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies Adolescent, Young-Adult
Pennsylvania Students Lead Philly Style’s MileUp Program: Building Resilience Through Sports, Mentoring, and Systems-Based Change Students run Philadelphia style Teenager, Young Adult
National Trans Mentor Project Sam & Devorah Foundation for Transgender Youth Teenager, Young Adult
Texas Travis County Transformation Project Amala Foundation Teenager, Young Adult
California Youth Health Ambassadors: Empowering Fresno County Youth to Overcome Barriers and Thrive Fresno Community Health Improvement Project Teen

To learn more about this challenge, visit www.challenge.gov/?challenge=resilience.

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