AHN, Pirates Charities Announce Partnership to Bring Behavioral Health and Wellness Services to Local School Districts and Communities

Allegheny CountyPNC Bank and Palumbo Charitable Trust also join in supporting AHN’s unique Chill Mobile program

PITTSBURGH, PA, October 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Allegheny Health Network (AHN) and Pirates Charities, the philanthropic arm of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball club, today announced a partnership to create a mobile version of AHN’s innovative Chill Project, which provides behavioral health services and mindfulness training in school districts throughout western Pennsylvania.

Recognizing the immediate need, AHN and Pirates Charities worked together to develop the Chill Mobile program in an effort to positively impact tens of thousands of youth in the region annually. The two partnered to purchase and customize the Chill Mobile vehicle, which will travel to school districts, workplaces and community organizations, greatly expanding the reach of AHN’s program. Other Chill Mobile backers include the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny CountyPNC and the Palumbo Charitable Trust.

Offered by AHN’s Institute of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health and led by a team of behavioral health professionals, Project Chill uses mindfulness-based exercises to prepare students, teachers, and parents with an evidence-based, standardized approach to identifying, discussing, and managing stress, anxiety and other mental health problems.

“School has always been a source of stress, whether you’re taking classes, teaching or parenting a student, and negative responses to stress create a significant barrier to learning and growth,” said William Davies, EdD, founder and director of AHN’s Chill Project. “Our program has proven to be a highly effective means of improving the health and well-being of participants, and we are extremely excited to be able to further expand access to these services through this new mobile capability.”

According to Davis, schools participating in Project Chill to date have experienced tangible benefits, including a reduced number of behavioral health incidents for students, such as chronic absenteeism, disruptive behavior, dropping out and feelings of hopelessness; increased professional quality of life for faculty and administrators; and increased well-being of parents and caregivers.

The COVID-19 pandemic, economic stress, and social unrest have heightened behavioral health concerns for all populations over the past few years, while exposing disparities in access to behavioral health services for many communities.

“The inspiration for this program was born in the conversation with Will Davis and others at AHN about the obstacles schools have in terms of physical space and funding for an on-site maintenance program. We had to find an innovative way to provide these necessary resources to children,” said Travis Williams, President of the Pirates. “Helping the youth of the region has been at the heart of our mission at Pirates Charities for over 15 years. We’re excited to partner with AHN and use the power of the Pirates brand to make the Chill Mobile fun and engaging to help break down any stigma around help-seeking.”

AHN’s Chill Mobile will offer students and faculty a calming space where they can learn evidence-based coping skills and engage in hands-on and interactive experiences, with the goal of not only improving individual mental health, but also broadening the conversation in -the larger community and reducing stigma surrounding mental health treatment. The new Chill Mobile Vehicle will feature Pirates-themed programming, including a virtual PNC Park experience, special messages from Pirates players, Pirates-themed stress relief giveaways and more.

“There is often a stigma attached to your mental health that is detrimental to our quality of life. Our mental and physical health are intertwined and taking care of our mental health is important at every stage of life,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “Chill Mobile provides a place as well as a plan to focus on good mental health so that our youth can have a positive outlook, a sense of balance and empowerment, and can tackle life and work goals in a way that is meaningful to them. Allegheny County is proud to be a part of bringing this resource to our community and excited about what it will mean for those who use it.”

AHN currently offers the Chill Project program in 31 schools in West Jefferson Hills, BaldwinWhitehall, South ParkCarlynton, Northgate, Chartiers Valley, Fairview (Erie)Canon-McMillan, Clairton and South Fayette school districts, as well as Shady Side Academy, three vocational and technical schools and CCAC Homewood. Specially designed ‘Chill Rooms’ have been set up in schools to accommodate students and staff seeking Chill Project services.

“The need for community-based mental health services has never been more pressing and we are extremely grateful to Pirates Charities and our other partners for their investment and commitment to this unique endeavour,” said Ali Quick, Chief Philanthropy Officer at AHN. “The AHN Chill Project has already made a huge difference in the lives of many people and our new mobile program will increase those numbers exponentially”

Chill Mobile resources will also be available and customized for businesses, community organizations and local events. For more information about bringing the Chill Mobile to your school, organization or community, contact Jefferson Hospital Counseling Services at (412) 650-1100.

About Allegheny Health Network:

Allegheny Health Network (AHN.org) is an integrated health care delivery system serving the greater Western Pennsylvania region. The network consists of 14 hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, Health + Wellness Pavilions, multi-employer organizations, home and community health services, a research institute and a group purchasing organization. The network provides patients with access to a full range of advanced medical services, including nationally recognized programs in primary and emergency care, trauma care, cardiovascular disease, organ transplantation, cancer care, orthopedic surgery, neurology and neurosurgery, women’s health, diabetes, autoimmune disease, etc. AHN employs approximately 21,000 people, has more than 2,600 physicians on its medical staff, and serves as a clinical campus for Drexel University Medical College and Lake Erie College in osteopathic medicine.

SOURCE Allegheny Health Network

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