Minnesota Hospital Association

Newsroom

May 26, 2021

Change to Chill initiative helps teens manage, improve mental well-being

This story is featured in MHA's community benefit report.

Allina Health, through its Change to Chill™ (CTC) initiative, is helping teens manage and improve their mental well-being. CTC helps teens identify stressors and gives them tools and resources to reduce stress and anxiety, care for their mental well-being and build resiliency. In partnership with schools and organizations across Allina Health’s service area, the program offers free classes, online tools and curricula for teens and adults who support them. Reaching more than 300,000 teens, CTC is helping teens learn how to stress less and thrive in a changing environment.

In 2013, Allina Health created CTC in response to its Community Health Needs Assessment, which identified the need for increased mental health support for teens. Minnesota Student Survey results for 2019 also showed more students than ever reporting long-term mental health, behavioral or emotional problems. CTC responded to this increased need in mental health support, especially among younger teens, by expanding its Change to Chill School Partnership to include middle schools and offering additional trainings to teachers, parents and students.

In 2020, COVID-19 caused fear, anxiety, uncertainty and stress in populations across Minnesota. Schools transitioned to distance learning while students, teachers and parents adjusted to a new normal. CTC met the changing needs of the community by offering a virtual care package for families, transforming in-person trainings to virtual well-being classes for all and creating new online resources like a Virtual Chill Zone to provide additional support to students navigating change. CTC enhanced its content by offering tools and resources to help students sort out complicated feelings and cope with grief, loss and change.

COVID-19 disproportionately impacted Black, Indigenous and people of color. In response, CTC partnered with Hennepin County Public Health to provide culturally specific mental health resources for youth most impacted by COVID-19 including Black, Indigenous, Latinx and LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, genderqueer, intersexed, agender, asexual and ally community) populations. These populations were already vulnerable, with LGBTQIA+ youth reporting significantly higher rates of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts than their cisgender, heterosexual counterparts, along with well-documented mental health disparities among populations of color. CTC worked with teens from each population to share their experience with others through video interviews and translated all available tools and resources into Spanish to expand its reach and impact.

Allina Health expended $220,000 over 2019 and 2020 on its Change to Chill program.