Morgan Stanley donates $20 million to children's mental health programs

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Morgan Stanley MS.N said on Monday it will give $20 million to seven nonprofit groups working to prevent youth suicide and fight depression and other children's mental health problems.

FILE PHOTO: A sign is displayed on the Morgan Stanley building in New York U.S., July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo GLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD

Calling the initiative the Morgan Stanley Alliance for Children’s Mental Health, the bank aims to recruit other donors to help fund the rapid expansion of the groups in the United States, Britain and Hong Kong.

Roughly 17 million people in the United States under age 18 have a mental health disorder, but the vast majority will never receive treatment, said Joan Steinberg, president of Morgan Stanley’s foundation.

“We are not going to make a dent in this problem by ourselves,” said Steinberg. “The problem is way bigger than any one us. But we are all hiring these kids when they grow up.”

The bank’s grants will substantially increase funding for the Jed Foundation, a U.S. group that works to combat teen suicide, and the Steve Foundation, which promotes mental health and emotional well-being for students of color.

Non-profits like these run lean operations, Steinberg said, and the Morgan Stanley grants are among the largest either group has ever received. The Jed Foundation reported total revenues of $8.9 million in 2018, and the Steve Foundation reported $1.15 million, according to tax filings.

“Our hope is to bring capital to the table, ours and other groups — private philanthropy, our clients, employees and our (Wall Street) peers,” said Steinberg.

Some of the groups will use the money to make their resources available to more communities, she said.

For example, Child Mind Institute offers an online symptom checker parents can use to analyze symptoms they recognize in their child for possible psychiatric or learning disorders.

The group currently offers the symptom checker in English and Spanish, and they will use the grant money to upgrade all of its online services, which includes health guides and more than 1,000 articles, to also offer them in Spanish.

Access to mental health resources is limited for people in Spanish-speaking communities, and poorer and geographically isolated communities, the Child Health Institute said, and they will use the money to make their online tools more useful and applicable to these groups.

Other groups that also received grants from the bank include the New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, Mind HK in Hong Kong, Place2Be in London and Scottish Association for Mental health in Glasgow, Scotland.

Reporting By Elizabeth Dilts Marshall; Editing by David Gregorio and Jonathan Oatis