Why Pinterest, MTV, and Showtime are teaming up to fund cultural approaches to mental health care


In the term sheet, we typically report investments in companies, whether through venture capital, private equity, or hedge funds. But today’s newsletter covers another type of financing with a completely different value proposition: investments in communities and the mental health of the young people who live in them.

One-third of young adults in the US ages 18 to 25 live with a mental illness, 2022 study finds report of the US government agency that oversees mental health treatment services. One in ten young people in the same age group suffer from a serious mental illness, meaning it substantially interferes with their daily lives, according to the data.

While discussions about mental health have become commonplace in recent years, minority communities face additional barriers to accessing appropriate care. Researchers have discovered that the The stigma around mental health is worse. for ethnic minorities, for example. Black people with mental health or substance use illnesses support longer wait times for appointments than white patients, and they are in a increased risk of financial difficulties when they have depression, studies have found. There is also a disproportionately low number of psychology workers who come from ethnic minorities compared to the composition of the American population.

Social media platform Pinterest, along with entertainment networks Showtime and Paramount-owned MTV Entertainment Group, have committed $1 million to fund community organizations working on culture-based mental health initiatives for youth, the companies said exclusively . Fortune.

What exactly is a culturally based mental health practice? The definition is vague, but can include food, dance, music, meditation, yoga, comedy, and other activities rooted in cultural traditions that promote healing. The fund, called Hidden Healing Fund, also aims to support groups that are closing the accessibility gap in mental health care for minority communities, such as Project AAKOMA, a nonprofit that offers free therapy sessions to members of marginalized groups.

“This really felt like something new and different that was worth our investment,” said Erika Soto Lamb, MTV’s vice president of social impact strategy. Fortune. “Even if mental health care is accessible, the disparity of therapists coming from communities of color makes it difficult to find care from someone with lived experience.”

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Pinterest chief content officer Malik Ducard pointed to his own industry as one of the reasons there is demand for mental health care. In recent years, the negative effects of social media on mental health have become clearer, according to the Surgeon General. issuing a warning to social media companies about the matter last year. Meanwhile, Pinterest supports emotional well-being initiatives and works to create a healthier product for young people, Ducard said in an emailed statement.

The fund was not born out of nowhere. In 2022, MTV held a forum focused on mental health at the White House. In attendance were 30 health leaders under the age of 30, who presented ideas about what resources young people need to a group of media companies, nonprofit organizations and officials from the Biden-Harris Administration. Four of those participants (Mahmoud Khedr, Ayanna Kelly, Maddox Guerilla and Kheira Bekkadja) proposed various healing practices and called themselves the hidden healers.

“We always go in with a commitment to do more with at least one of the ideas,” said MTV’s Soto Lamb. “This one caught our attention from the beginning.”

Within days of the event, MTV partnered with the group Hidden Healers. Together, they created an online resource page for members of underrepresented communities. The new fund builds on this previous work with the original group as namesake.

While the million-dollar fund is a step in the right direction, it is still just a drop in the bucket compared to the deep pockets of these media companies and the scope of the problem. Paramount generated $30 billion in revenue last year, and Pinterest generated $3 billion.

Soto Lamb did not disclose the number of organizations Hidden Healing Fund intends to invest in or whether media companies will continue to pump money into the project after its inaugural year. But he did say, “When we do something that works, we keep doing it.”

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Given that young people are the future of business (not to mention politics, academia, science, journalism and everything else), perhaps investing in improving mental health is the only investment that matters.

Rachel Jones
Twitter: @RachylJones
Email: [email protected]
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Joe Abrams curated the deals section of today’s newsletter.

ENTREPRENEURIAL OFFERS

Relaya business banking and money management platform based in Toronto, Canada and New York City, raised $32.2 million in Series B funding. Bain Capital Ventures He led the round and was joined Industry Companies and existing investors BTV, Garageand Tapestry.

Fireflya platform based in Tel Aviv, Israel and Foster City, California, designed to manage multi-cloud operations, raised $23 million in Series A funding. Vertex He led the round and was joined hanaco, SoftBank, Moving Companiesand red seed.

Maven AGA Boston, Massachusetts-based company that develops generative AI designed for customer service, raised $20 million in Series A funding. M13 He led the round and was joined Capital Lux, E14 Backgroundand others.

Odysseya New York City-based platform that partners with states to manage school choice programs for parents, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Bradley Tusk of Tusk Venture Partners He led the round and was joined Andreessen Horowitz, Capital elbowand bright capital.

everfencea Newport Beach, California-based platform designed to connect homeowners and contractors for fencing projects, raised $7 million in Series A funding. HIP chain, the investment arm of HighPost Capital.

SCRIPTA Zurich, Switzerland-based cryptoasset financial services provider raised $5 million in funding. Breaststroke Bench He led the round and was joined fair companies, Cabrit Capitaland Atlantic Laboratories.

Juicy button gamesa game studio based in Limassol, Cyprus, raised $3 million in seed funding. The Gaming Fund He led the round and was joined TGF and Anton Sinelnikov.

PRIVATE CAPITAL

GTCR agreed to take Surmodics (NASDAQ: SRDX)an Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based developer of medical devices and in vitro diagnostic technologies, private for approximately $627 million.

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Hudson Glade acquired Premium Home Improvement, a home services provider based in Sacramento, California. Financial terms were not disclosed.

JENNMARa holding company FalconPoint Partnersacquired a majority stake in Australian steel and wire, a manufacturer of wire mesh and related products based in Henderson, Australia. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Capital Domain acquired a majority stake in Safe Haven Defense, a bullet-resistant window film provider based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Financial terms were not disclosed.

your lifesupported by Partners Paine Schwartzacquired Slice, a soft drink brand based in Newtown, Pennsylvania. Financial terms were not disclosed.

DEPARTURES

Merck (NYSE: MRK) agreed to acquire OjoBioa developer of therapies for eye diseases based in London, United Kingdom, from Jeito Capitalfor up to 3,000 million dollars.

bridge point Cluster acquired a majority stake in LumAppsan intranet provider based in Tassin, France, from Alternatives to Goldman Sachs, Eurazeo Growth, Bpifranceand IRIS for 650 million dollars.

IPOS

Transparent, a Tel Aviv, Israel-based developer of smart glass, camera monitors and advanced driver-assistance technologies, plans to raise up to $79.8 million in an offering of 4.2 million shares priced between 17 and 19 dollars. The company posted $78 million in revenue for the year ending December 31, 2023. Ibex partners, olive tree companies, Infinity Holding Ventures PTE, Avery Dennison Corp., South Lake Oneand Blue-red partners support the company.

PEOPLE

Bessemer process Venture partnersa venture capital firm based in San Francisco, promoted Lindsey Li to the vice president.

Silas Capitala New York City-based venture capital and growth capital firm, hired Mary Murtagh as vice president of the investment team. Before I was with CAVU consumer partners.

MS&AD Cross-Section hired Matthew Jones as head of Transversal Companies, the private equity and venture investment unit of the New York City-based insurance company. Previously I was with Antemis Group.



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