AmeriCorps, the Schultz Family Foundation, and Pinterest partner with states to create country’s first Youth Mental Health Corps

WASHINGTON, DC— In response to America’s youth mental health crisis, 11 states are joining forces with AmeriCorps, the Schultz Family Foundation and Pinterest to recruit, train and deploy the nation’s first Youth Mental Health Corps to help teenagers access critical mental health resources.

The new Youth Mental Health Corps is an innovative, public-private collaboration, with a robust set of partners that include America's Service Commissions, America Forward and the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. The Corps will address the growing needs of young people while creating career pathways to address the national shortage of mental-health professionals. AmeriCorps members will be trained as navigators serving middle and high school students in schools and in community-based organizations.

AmeriCorps members will gain valuable on-the-job experience, receive a stipend and earn a credential to advance their career. They will also be eligible for education awards to pursue higher education or pay back qualifying student loans.

One in three high school students report persistent feelings of hopelessness and approximately 122 million people live in a Mental Health Professional Shortage Area, where there is a shortage of more than 6,000 practitioners, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

There is also broad concern about the impact of social media on the mental health of young people.  AmeriCorps members in Youth Mental Health Corps will work directly with students to develop trust, share resources for digital and media literacy and help students navigate social challenges online such as harassment, bullying and bias.

The Youth Mental Health Corps seeks to address the crisis by leveraging the power of national service. Conceived by the Schultz Family Foundation and Pinterest, the program was developed in consultation with hundreds of experts and practitioners. Both organizations will provide financial support to participating State Service Commissions to design and adapt the initiative to meet local needs, including providing training and credentials at no cost to AmeriCorps members. AmeriCorps, the federal agency for service and volunteerism, will provide operating support to organizations hosting members, as well as stipends and education awards to AmeriCorps members.

Hundreds of AmeriCorps members will be deployed in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota and Texas starting in September 2024. Seven other states— California, Iowa, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and Utah—have received planning grants and intend to launch their own Corps in the fall of 2025. As the program expands, thousands of young adults will participate each year, providing mental-health support to tens of thousands of teens.

Anyone ages 18-24 with a high school diploma can apply at


  • “National service is a win-win for addressing the teen mental-health crisis because it allows young adults to support each other peer-to-peer while gaining valuable skills and experience, getting paid and earning a credential. The Youth Mental Health Corps demonstrates the power of philanthropy, business, government and non-profits partnering to create innovative solutions to critical national challenges.” - Sheri Kersch Schultz, Co-Founder and Chair, Schultz Family Foundation 
  • “At Pinterest, we’re committed to creating an inspirational and positive online experience for young people. Supporting youth mental health requires everyone across the industry coming together, and we’re proud to support the Youth Mental Health Corps. Together, we’re leveraging our collective expertise to provide youth-led mental health resources and meet young people where they are.” – Wanji Walcott, Chief Legal Officer, Pinterest 
  • "We are at a critical moment where we must act with urgency to address the mental health crisis that is impacting millions of our children. I am incredibly thankful for our grantees and partners at America Forward, Pinterest and Schultz Family Foundation for standing up Youth Mental Health Corps. This innovative cross-sector partnership will build on AmeriCorps' 30 years of hands on experience supporting youth mental health and well being. AmeriCorps members will serve as peer support specialists and navigators at schools and in communities to connect students with care." – Michael D. Smith, CEO, AmeriCorps 
  • “Young people across the country are facing unprecedented challenges to their mental health and wellbeing, and the impact of these challenges extends beyond the young people themselves to their families and communities. America Forward is proud to partner with the Schultz Family Foundation, Pinterest and AmeriCorps to leverage the proven power of national service and nonprofit community organizations to help young people thrive. The Youth Mental Health Corps presents a unique opportunity to innovate and create a valuable, multi-sector roadmap for funders, partners and policymakers to both support young people and create vital on-ramps to mental health careers.” – Deborah Smolover, Executive Director, America Forward and Managing Partner of New Profit  
  • "In California, we are seeing the transformative power of service. Not only do paid service opportunities transform communities, but they also have the power to connect individuals and create a greater sense of belonging – all things that promote mental health and well-being. These kinds of initiatives empower young Californians to support each other while gaining valuable skills and experience, getting paid and starting a career." – Josh Fryday, Chief Service Officer, California 
  • "Colorado's commitment to the mental well-being of our youth is unwavering. By joining this national initiative, we are not only addressing the urgent need for mental health resources but also creating meaningful pathways for our young adults to pursue careers in this vital field. Together, we will make a tangible difference in the lives of Colorado youth, empowering them to navigate the challenges they face with resilience and hope while addressing shortages in the behavioral health workforce." – Dianne Primavera, Lieutenant Governor, Colorado  
  • "At Volunteer Iowa, we recognize there is a critical need for mental health support and are committed to continuing to invest in services and education programs in Iowa. Volunteer Iowa is grateful to have received a planning grant for Youth Mental Health Corps, and we look forward to partnering with experts in community-based and behavioral health to better serve our youth across the state.” – Angela Jiskoot,  Chair, Volunteer Iowa Commission
  • “In Maryland, we are seeing how the power of service can empower young people to be leaders in their communities and are proud to expand our programming through the Youth Mental Health Corps. It is imperative that young people are the forefront of addressing the mental health crisis and we could not be more thrilled to build a sustainable pathway to support young change-makers impacting the field.” – Sarah Flammang, Deputy Secretary of the Maryland Department of Service and Civic Innovation and Interim Executive Director of the Governor's Office of Service and Volunteerism  
  • “AmeriCorps members are a tremendous resource for Michigan in helping solve the state’s pressing issues and youth mental health is one of those critical needs. AmeriCorps members can help fill the gap in the professional mental health care shortage and make a connection with youth. We are proud to be part of this groundbreaking partnership and look forward to seeing the impact it will have on Michigan’s future.” – Ginna Holmes, Executive Director, Michigan Community Service Commission 
  • "We’re proud to be part of this groundbreaking effort on an issue that needs serious attention. We’ve heard from communities across Minnesota that they need more support around mental health, and we’re excited to grow our Recovery Corps and Promise Fellows programs to meet those needs. We look forward to recruiting additional AmeriCorps members to better serve Minnesota’s youth and fuel the pipeline of mental health providers." – Julia Quanrud, CEO, ServeMinnesota 
  •  “As a policy-maker and a parent of four young women, I know that we are seeing an increase in mental health issues, especially among young people. We are proud to be among the first states developing a Youth Mental Health Corps, bringing young people together in community to strengthen mental health.” – Tahesha Way, Lieutenant Governor overseeing AmeriCorps New Jersey and the Governor’s Office of Volunteerism in her capacity as New Jersey Secretary of State  
  • “In Texas, we are committed to growing the mental health workforce and ensuring our students have access to the resources they need in school. We are honored to partner with Communities In Schools as one of the first states to implement the Youth Mental Health Corps and offer school-based mental health navigator career development opportunities for young people, while they provide critical wrap-around services to middle and high school students.” – Chris Bugbee, President and CEO, OneStar Foundation