December 11, 2020

Our commitment to mental health and wellness

Highlights from Kaiser Permanente’s ongoing efforts to improve the mental health of our members and communities.

Kaiser Permanente recognizes that mental health is part of total health. Our goal is to identify and implement evidence-based solutions focused on prevention and early intervention that will positively impact the lives of our members and the communities we serve.

Adverse childhood experiences

  • In 1998, Kaiser Permanente partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to release a landmark study on childhood abuse and neglect and their effects on health and well-being later in life. The study on adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, one of the largest investigations of its kind, explored the childhood experiences, health status, and behaviors of 17,000 Kaiser Permanente members in Southern California.
  • Kaiser Permanente’s leadership on ACEs research has brought new understanding to the long-term impacts of childhood trauma and has helped create a more resilient generation ready to navigate the challenges ahead.
  • In October 2019, Kaiser Permanente announced that it committed $2.75 million in new research funding to help prevent and mitigate the health effects of ACEs. The primary goal is to fund new research to provide important insights for both clinical and community-based interventions to help address ACEs. 

Public health awareness campaigns

  • In 2016, Kaiser Permanente launched Find Your Words — a multi-year public health awareness effort to reduce stigma and normalize talking about mental health. The online resource features information in English and Spanish to help everyone learn how to start conversations, build resilience and reduce stress, connect to helpful tools and online communities, and find support for themselves and the people they care about, including young children and teenagers.
  • Kaiser Permanente’s Train the Mind campaign, launched in 2018, featured Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry in public health awareness videos focused on managing stress and building resilience.
  • Kaiser Permanente launched the Action Minded campaign, in partnership with The Public Good Projects, in 2019. The campaign included social media efforts such as Like One Another to decrease stigma and improve social acceptance of mental health conditions.
  • In April 2020, Kaiser Permanente launched a social media challenge, #OwnTheCurve, to engage young people all over the world by asking them to share how they are helping stop the spread of COVID-19. Mental health messaging about coping with anxiety and stress related to COVID-19 was also part of the effort.

Presence of Mind

  • In May 2020, Kaiser Permanente teamed up with American esports organization Cloud9 to create a first-of-its-kind mental health initiative that reaches 14 to 25-year-olds with positive mental health messages in places where they spend a lot of their time: online gaming and esports platforms.
  • Presence of Mind was created to reduce stigma around mental health and encourage teens and young adults to prioritize their well-being. It does this in several ways, including: mental health training for Cloud9 staff and athletes, a series on the live stream service Twitch, short-form video content, a moderator engagement program, and evaluative research.
  • The behavior-change initiative has the goal of seeing if a narrow focus on a specific community of gamers can drive longer-lasting changes, and shift young people’s understanding of mental health by taking them from being uninformed to becoming allies and advocates for mental health and wellness. 

Resilience in School Environments

  • In late 2019, Kaiser Permanente announced the expansion of RISE, our Resilience in School Environments initiative, which emphasizes the importance of providing teachers with the skills and resources they need to support student mental health and to better tend to their own emotional needs.
  • Partners on the RISE initiative include the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and Discovery Education. The initiative aims to address trauma and stress and to promote social-emotional wellness in at least 25,000 schools nationwide.
  • In late 2020, two learning modules developed by Discovery Education were made available to schools and districts at no cost. The first module focuses on trauma-informed care and educator well-being while the second module highlights cultural sensitivity and equity. Two additional modules are scheduled to be available in early 2021.

NBA partnership

  • Since 2016, Kaiser Permanente and the National Basketball Association have partnered to create the Total Health Forum, hosting 4 events that explored strategies for achieving total health of mind, body, and spirit, and identifying ways to build healthier generations.
  • Together, the NBA and Kaiser Permanente have also hosted hundreds of NBA FIT Clinics in cities throughout the United States, reaching more than 30,000 youth with essential life skills and mental health and wellness programming.

Suicide prevention

  • In 2018, a study from the Mental Health Research Network, led by Kaiser Permanente research scientists, demonstrated that we can use electronic health record data in combination with other tools to accurately identify people at high risk for suicide attempt or suicide death. The study builds on previous models in other health systems that used fewer potential predictors from patients’ records.

The Oakland 515

  • Kaiser Permanente and Bay Area Community Services formed an innovative partnership to house 515 aging, homeless individuals in Oakland, California. The initiative was designed with a recognition that housing stability is a key for health, and that homelessness, chronic health problems, mental health challenges, and substance abuse are often interrelated. Without a safe, stable place to live, it is nearly impossible to maintain any health improvements achieved in a medical setting.