Mark and Mary Stevens Give $1 Million to Mental Health Programs for Adolescents
PALO ALTO, Calif.–Silicon Valley billionaire venture capitalist Mark Stevens and his wife Mary, have given Sutter’s Palo Alto Medical Foundation $1 million to advance mental health programs for youth (aged 16-24) across the South Bay. The gift underscores the importance of identifying mental health issues earlier, pointing young people and their families to services and resources that can help them sooner, ultimately benefiting health in the entire community.
“Mental health is historically an area of healthcare that has been overlooked and under resourced in the community environment,” Mark Stevens, partner at S-Cubed Capital says. “If we continue to allow mental illness to fester in our youth too long, the cost to the community and society magnify. We are excited to make resources available to combat this important issue and to partner with PAMF.”
One in four adults in the U.S. lives with a mental health condition such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or substance abuse disorder. It is estimated that 3.2 million adolescents experience at least one major depressive episode each year.
“Between 1993 and around 2005, I’d see one or two children a year exhibiting anxiety, depression, suicidal ideations or bipolar disorder,” says Bruce Block, M.D., a PAMF pediatrician in Santa Cruz. “Now I see at least one or two every day.”
Many people grapple with multiple mental health challenges at once, and left untreated these conditions can significantly impair their quality of life. Research shows that, on average, people wait eight to 10 years to pursue professional assistance.
Designing for Transitional Age Youth
Like other patient groups, transitional-age youth often struggle to access timely and appropriate care. After extensive interviews with community members, clinicians and physicians, teams across Sutter have pinpointed key opportunity areas for change. This mental health campaign will focus on three areas:
• Further integrating mental health into the primary care setting
• Developing new models for expanding caregiver capacity to pilot virtual care visits and initiating new mobile technology solutions
• Creating a new communications platform for better community support
“We have an opportunity to redesign mental
health care in the primary care setting and well beyond it, and this generous gift
from the Stevens family is a tremendous start,” says Shahna Rogosin, M.D.,
chair, department of psychiatry and behavioral health, PAMF. “This initiative will
help to ensure seamless mental health care for adolescents and young adults and provide
them with the timely treatment, robust tools, and comprehensive support they need
Mark and Mary Stevens are longtime patients and donors to PAMF, providing a foundational gift for the PAMF Community Cancer Center in Sunnyvale in 2012.
“We enjoy supporting forward leading non-profit organizations,” says Mary Stevens. “Our entire family receives health care at PAMF and they have been such a valuable resource for the community—over thinking where healthcare is going by adopting new technologies and building innovative programming like this mental health initiative.”
The Giving Pledge
Mark and Mary signed the Giving Pledge in 2013—a commitment started by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett to encourage the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to giving back.
“It gives us great joy to see the impact of our gifts and we look forward to widening our aperture of giving in healthcare and in other initiatives that will make a difference in our community and in society in the future.”