Aiming “to make kindness cool,” Lady Gaga co-founded the Born This Way Foundation in 2012 with her mother, Cynthia Germanotta. Through high-impact programming, youth-led conversations, and strategic partnerships, the nonprofit works to validate the emotions of young people and eliminate stigmas surrounding mental health. And now a Fort Worth company will help Born This Way do that for college students students from coast to coast.
The foundation announced today that it’s partnering with Fort Worth-based TimelyCare, a leading virtual health and well-being solution in higher education, to support college students’ mental health.
Katie Neal, TimelyCare’s VP of communications and marketing, told Dallas Innovates that her team hasn’t met Lady Gaga yet.
“But the entire Born This Way Foundation team has been incredible as we developed this collaboration,” Neal said. “We have so much respect for how the Born This Way Foundation—founded by Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta—supports the mental health of young people and works with them to build a kinder and braver world.”
“Combined with Born This Way Foundation’s incredible visibility as an organization that supports the mental health of young people, and TimelyCare’s access to a student body of nearly 2 million students, this partnership adds even more visibility and support solutions for students seeking mental health care,” Neal added.
TimelyCare was known as TimelyMD until March, when it unveiled its new brand identity and launched new products. The company has worked with over 200 colleges and universities across the U.S. through its virtual health platform.
Collaboration has been in the works ‘for a while’
So how did the Fort Worth company get connected with one of the biggest superstars in music and film, and the foundation she believes in so strongly?
“Given our complimentary missions around mental health and young people, we have talked about teaming up for a while,” Neal told us. “We’re excited to announce our partnership during Mental Health Awareness Month as we aim to shine a spotlight on the important work we do to improve the health and well-being of students and eliminate the stigma of mental health among young people.”
Lady Gaga’s mother says the two organizations are a good fit.
“By combining our expertise and resources, we aim to connect young people and our wider community with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to support anyone who may be struggling with their mental health,” Cynthia Germanotta, president and co-founder of the Born This Way Foundation, said in a statement. “Together, we can break down the barriers surrounding mental health and build a much needed culture of kindness, understanding, and acceptance, and that starts with young people.”
60% of college students sought mental health support in their K-12 years
The new partnership is timely for a good reason: May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The organizations say their collaboration “amplifies their complementary missions and recent warnings about the youth mental health crisis from both the CDC and Surgeon General.”
The crisis is particularly acute on America’s college campuses. TimelyCare recently conducted a nationwide survey of more than 1,100 Gen Z college students, and found that nearly 60% sought professional mental health support during their K-12 years. Three-quarters (77%) said they have at least one friend currently struggling with mental health issues.
71% of college students surveyed by TimelyMD said they are experiencing mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and/or depression. Students’ top five stressors are their own mental health (50%), followed by personal finances (39%), academics (37%), mass shootings (35%) and inflation/rising prices (35%).
“Four out of five college students declared a mental health crisis on campus this year,” Neal said. “As members of Gen Z, these students face unprecedented mental and emotional health challenges and are experiencing worse outcomes than earlier generations. With compounding stressors from various aspects of students’ lives—from everyday pressures such as academics, finances, and basic needs, to societal ones like mass shootings and economic uncertainty—the need for continuing support on campuses is significant.”
One finding of the survey supported TimelyCare’s virtual healthcare mission: Three out of four (75%) students who have utilized a teletherapy service or a virtual mental health app to support their mental health say their mental health improved as a result, including 100% of those presenting with suicidal ideation.
Expanding access to Born This Way’s ‘Be There’ Certificate
TimelyCare is now making the “Be There Certificate”—a free online mental health course created by Jack.org in partnership with Born This Way Foundation—available on its platform to support the college students it serves across the U.S. The self-paced learning experience is designed to increase mental health literacy and provide people with the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to safely support anyone who may be struggling with their mental health. It’s available in English, Spanish, and French.
“Adding the ‘Be There Certificate’ to our expansive suite of self-guided, evidence-based tools and peer support resources reflects our ongoing commitment to transforming the way care is delivered to Gen Z,” Luke Hejl, co-founder and CEO of TimelyCare, said in the statement. “Today’s students are incredibly resilient and empathetic. Equipping and empowering them to help friends and classmates who struggle is a tangible way we can help students be well and thrive while also making the world a kinder and braver place.”
Neal noted that “four out of five students say there is a mental health crisis on college campuses. Creating a culture of care that normalizes mental health conversations and encourages support-seeking steps is a critical part of addressing students’ needs.” To help do that, she said, the “Be There” course teaches people:
• How to recognize signs of struggle
• What to say to start the conversation
• How to build trust and offer practical support
• Tips to become a better listener, and
• The importance of setting healthy boundaries
Future collaborations in the works
TimelyCare and Born This Way Foundation said they look forward to future collaborations that continue to serve students, “including plans for expanded access to other resources such as the Channel Kindness Storytellers Club, where students can build kinder communities to benefit their own and others’ mental wellness.”
More on Born This Way Foundation
You can learn more about how Lady Gaga and her mother are encouraging people to practice kindness toward themselves and their communities by visiting their foundation’s website at bornthisway.foundation and its storytelling platform Channel Kindness at channelkindness.org.
Other TimelyCare initiatives
TimelyCare continues to provide on-demand, equitable access to care for college students “each and every day, at all hours of the day.” Neal said her company has a current provider rating of 4.93 out of 5 stars, and continues to invest in the quality of the care experience through provider training, assessment, and student feedback.
For instance, TimelyCare recently announced what it calls a first-of-its-kind partnership with Violet, a health equity platform, to upskill cultural competence and deliver identity-centered care coordination, and to ultimately impact and close disparity gaps for diverse students across the U.S. To date, 100% of TimelyCare’s full-time mental health providers have completed training with Violet, Neal said.
“We’ e also expanded our suite of evidence-based self-care resources that demonstrate TimelyCare’s expertise in and commitment to transforming the way care is delivered to students,” Neal added. “About half of students who have used our Peer Community or self-care resources have not had a provider visit in the last three months, underscoring the need to empower students with easy and self-guided on-ramps for support, wherever they are on their path to wellness.”
Neal also noted that TimelyCare has been recognized by MedTech Breakthrough for a second year as a “best-in-class virtual care solution.”
Get on the list.
Dallas Innovates, every day.
Sign up to keep your eye on what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth, every day.