GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Approximately one year ago, Amerigroup Texas, one of Texas’ largest coordinators of managed healthcare benefits, and EVERFI from Blackbaud, the leader in powering social impact through education, announced the launch of a landmark initiative to connect middle and high school students across the state with critical mental wellness and healthcare literacy courses. Amerigroup provided a $300,000 grant to deploy EVERFI’s digital curricula to Texas students in grades 8 to 10, most of whom are in underserved parts of the state.
While this initiative continues to reach students and transform lives, Amerigroup is pleased to announce that approximately 10,000 Texas teens have already completed courses. Courses have equipped youth with the knowledge and skills they need to build, maintain and promote positive mental health in themselves and their peers. Lessons have also taught youth basic healthcare literacy that can help them become more proactive in their own, and their families’ health, to achieve better health outcomes.
“Amerigroup’s purpose is to help Texans overcome disparities, so we can build a healthier future for members, families and communities across the state, and we recognize that we can make a lasting, positive impact on lives through our whole health approach, which involves addressing each individual’s physical, behavioral and non-medical drivers of health in an integrated fashion,” said Greg Thompson, President of Amerigroup Texas. “Research and data shows deteriorating mental and physical health outcomes among youth, as well as a lack of understanding why whole health is important, so Amerigroup took action to close education gaps and improve whole health outcomes. Through our investments and collaboration with EVERFI, we continue to succeed in our mission and make progress in building a foundation for a better, healthier future across all of Texas.”
Amerigroup’s funding has enabled EVERFI to tailor and launch two courses across a wide range of Texas schools – from large high schools in Dallas and Harris counties, to middle schools in rural communities such as Liberty and Kendall counties. Digital courses have been designed to be interactive and engaging for students with varying levels of health and wellness experiences and literacy.
The first course, Understanding Mental Wellness, introduces students to concepts related to mental health with a goal of decreasing stigma, connecting students with resources, and spurring those who need help to seek it out. During the 2022/2023 school year, this course reached more than 4,500 Texas students in 78 junior high and high schools – 46 percent of which are classified low- to moderate-Income (LMI). The second course, Healthcare Literacy, helps learners make smart and healthy choices about health and healthcare. Last year, it reached more than 5,000 Texas students in 117 schools – 61 percent of which are classified LMI. Both courses have again been launched in middle and high schools across the state for the 2023/2024 school year, with a goal of reaching students in more than 850 schools throughout 240 of Texas’ 256 counties.
Pre- and post-course assessments gauge how much students have learned from the lessons. These assessments consistently demonstrate that the majority of students who complete the courses report that they are better equipped to handle mental health crises and are more likely to talk with teachers when someone they know is depressed or has suicidal thoughts. They also report that they better understand health insurance, how and when to access care, what insurance does and does not cover, as well as how to avoid medical debt.
One Texas student who completed the Understanding Mental Wellness course this past school season shared the following in a post-course assessment: “What I liked best about this course is how they validated feelings of stress and not feeling good about yourself. It is normal and shouldn’t be seen as weird or freaky, and they even provided resources and suggestions to make yourself or others feel better.”
To learn more about EVERFI health and wellness courses for youth, visit https://everfi.com/k-12/health-wellness/.
ABOUT AMERIGROUP TEXAS
Amerigroup Texas helps improve healthcare access and quality for more than a million Texans by developing innovative care management programs and services. Consumers are assured care that is not only accessible, but also accountable, comprehensive, integrated and patient-centered. Amerigroup Texas provides ongoing community relations and outreach to encourage consumers to become active participants in their healthcare. Through health education programs, consumers are empowered to choose and sustain a healthy lifestyle. For more information about Amerigroup Texas, visit www.myamerigroup.com/tx.