MACY’S PARTNERS WITH THE NATIONAL ALLIANCE ON MENTAL ILLNESS AND THE JED FOUNDATION TO SUPPORT YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES

by John Russel Jones

Macy’s is helping to tackle the nation’s youth mental health crisis as part of its commitment to creating a more equitable future for all. Starting August 1 in stores nationwide, Macy’s will raise awareness and funds through a six-week long charitable giving and roundup campaign in partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and The Jed Foundation to ensure young people have the needed tools and resources to support mental well-being as the school year begins.

Above photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

The mental health crisis in America is undeniable. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health challenges were the leading cause of disability and poor life outcomes in young people, with up to 1 in 5 children ages 3–17 in the U.S. having a mental, emotional, developmental, or behavioral disorder, according to an advisory issued by the U.S. Surgeon General.

The pandemic’s negative impacts most heavily affected vulnerable communities such as youth with disabilities, racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ youth, low-income youth, youth in rural areas, youth in immigrant households, youth involved with the child welfare or juvenile justice systems, and homeless youth.

The funds raised in August and early September will provide resources and create systemic change in youth mental health care through educational and support programs at schools and campuses in underserved communities across the United States. Throughout the six-week campaign Macy’s customers will have an opportunity to round up their purchases to the nearest dollar (up to $0.99), donating the change in stores from coast-to-coast. Customers will also have an opportunity to donate during checkout on macys.com and Macy’s mobile app.

The partnership with NAMI and The Jed Foundation is the latest example of Macy’s, Inc.’s social purpose platform, Mission Every One in action. Through Mission Every One the company is committing to leverage its business and brand to tackle the barriers of representation to create a brighter future with bold representation for all. This is most evident in the social purpose platform’s goals to support youth across life issues including youth mental health by helping to support organizations that provide young people tools, resources, and support to impact their wellbeing.

“Macy’s is committed to creating positive societal change through our social purpose commitments under Mission Every One. Our focus on youth wellbeing is core to creating a brighter future for our customers, colleagues, and the communities we serve,” said Sam Di Scipio, Macy’s Senior Director, Corporate Communications – Giving & Volunteerism. “This partnership with NAMI and The Jed Foundation will place a spotlight on the youth mental health crisis in our country and help to provide critical funds that will directly impact resources and support for at risk youth across America.”

“Because most mental health conditions begin during childhood, adolescence or young adulthood, identifying mental health conditions in young people and getting them the help they need as early as possible is critical to their well-being and development,” said NAMI Chief Executive Officer Daniel H. Gillison Jr. “NAMI is grateful to Macy’s and their customers for their support, which will further our mission to support, educate and advocate for the millions of people affected by mental illness nationwide.”

The Jed Foundation partners with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance misuse and suicide prevention programs and systems. They equip teens and young adults with the skills and knowledge to help themselves and each other.

“We’re thrilled to partner with NAMI and Macy’s, whose commitment to improving the mental health of underserved students is invaluable, especially now,” said John MacPhee, CEO of The Jed Foundation. “With Macy’s support, we’ll be able to help a broader range of high schools, colleges and universities across the nation better support students’ mental health and take action to prevent suicide.”

Thus far in 2022, through its focus on youth empowerment Macy’s, Inc. has raised $1.4 million for youth education and Historically Black Colleges and Universities with partners UNCF and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, $1.5 million to provide girls with access to STEM and College & Career Readiness educational opportunities with Girls, Inc., nearly $1.5 million for Trust for Public Land which revitalizes schoolyards and public parks in communities nationwide, $1.4 million for APIA Scholars to support college access and career readiness, and $1.4 million for The Trevor Project to provide crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for LGBTQ youth; more than $1.5 million for Reading Is Fundamental to support RIF’s Race Equity and Inclusion Initiative, among others. Upcoming 2022 partners include The Hispanic Federation, and others.

In addition to vital fundraising support for communities nationwide, closer to home, Macy’s is committed to offering a culture and environment where colleagues feel valued, respected, and can focus on their total well-being. To that end, Macy’s Total Rewards colleague program includes opportunities to enroll in traditional health care benefits, but also access to the Life Solutions Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which provides free confidential counseling, emotional support, financial advice, stress management and online tools available to help all colleagues balance work and life.

Colleagues regularly have an opportunity to engage in enterprise-wide and meaningful dialogue around relevant societal topics through the recurring series, “Can We Talk.” Hosted by Macy’s, Inc. CEO & Chairman, Jeff Gennette, the most recent installment featured a moderated conversation with Dr. Ken Duckworth, Chief Medical Officer for NAMI. Colleagues were offered live and on demand access, as well as a real time Q&A discussion on the fundamental differences between well-being and mental health conditions, their prevalence in our society, and how we can eliminate stigma in the workplace, promoting pivotal conversations about mental health.

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