News Release
Posted by The Molina Cares Accord

The MolinaCares Accord Hosts Panel on Children’s Mental Health in Texas


Caroline Zubieta, Caroline.Zubieta@MolinaHealthcare.com, 562-951-1588
Lauren Brown, Lauren@theMonumentGroup.com, 512-344-2601

AUSTIN, Texas, December 9, 2021 – The MolinaCares Accord (“MolinaCares”), in
collaboration with Molina Healthcare of Texas (“Molina”), hosted a virtual panel on
December 8 on the impact COVID-19 has had on children’s mental health. Dr. Naomi
Garcia Alvarez, associate vice president of behavioral health at Molina Healthcare of Texas,
kicked off the panel, followed by opening remarks from State Representative Donna
Howard (TX-48), a former critical care nurse and health education instructor.


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on youth mental health across
America. According to a CDC report, the “proportion of mental health-related visits for
children aged 5 -11 and 12 -17 years increased approximately 24% and 31%, respectively”
compared to data from 2019.


“Complete health care goes beyond physical ailments, and, especially for our children, a
focus on mental health is more prevalent and important than ever before,” said Dr. Garcia
Alvarez. “Molina Healthcare of Texas is dedicated to whole-person care and facilitating
impactful, solution-centered conversations about mental health is a vital part of that mission. As we continue to deal with the lasting effects of the pandemic, Molina is committed to
supporting our next generation and their mental health.”


The virtual event was moderated by María Méndez, a K-12 education reporter at the Austin
American-Statesman. Expert panelists included Alison Mohr Boleware, government
relations director at the National Association of Social Workers, Texas Chapter; Greg
Hansch, executive director of NAMI Texas; Luanne Southern, executive director for the
Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium; and Dr. Kimberly Wilson, supervisor of
licensed mental health professionals for the Austin Independent School District (AISD).
The panelists spoke about the impact COVID-19 has had on children’s mental health and
the 2021 school year, the long-term effects of the pandemic on children growing up during
this time, and how parents, educators, and health care providers can best navigate mental
health issues and support children.


“This panel could not be more timely. Just this week, Surgeon General Murthy issued an
advisory protecting youth mental health,” said Rep. Howard in her opening remarks. “These
advisories are offered when there is an urgent mental health crisis — that’s how serious this
issue is. I am very proud of the focus the Texas legislature has had on mental health, and
it’s an amazing thing to have such collaboration amongst our leadership, healthcare, and
nonprofits as we work to protect our children.”


The full panel discussion can be viewed here.


About the MolinaCares Accord:


Established by Molina Healthcare, Inc., The MolinaCares Accord oversees a community
investment platform created to improve the health and well-being of disadvantaged
populations by funding meaningful, measurable, and innovative programs and solutions that
improve health, life, and living in local communities.


About Molina Healthcare of Texas:


Molina Healthcare of Texas has been providing government-funded health care since 2006.
The Company serves members through Medicaid, CHIP, Medicare, Medicare-Medicaid
(Duals) and Health Insurance Exchange programs, with service areas across Texas.
Through its locally operated health plans, Molina Healthcare, Inc., a FORTUNE 500
company, served approximately 4.8 million members as of September 30, 2021. For more
information about Molina Healthcare of Texas, visit MolinaHealthcare.com