Selena Gomez’s Foundation Helps Expand Educational Outreach to Teens

May 23, 2022

Singer, actress, producer, and founder of Rare Beauty Selena Gomez uses her celebrity status and expansive platform to bring awareness to mental health.

Now, her Rare Impact Fund has donated $100,000 to McLean to fund a series of free educational webinars targeting young people as well as the people who care about them—parents, teachers, coaches, and others.

The Rare Impact Fund is an outgrowth of Rare Beauty, Gomez’s makeup line that channels 1% of its profits to the fund.

“I’ve had the honor of meeting many McLean clinicians and have seen up close the incredible work that goes on there,” said Gomez.

“When it was time for our first round of grants to be distributed, I knew McLean needed to be recognized for its commitment to expanding the free mental health webinar series aimed at teens and young people.”

Girl with pink hair watches laptop, lying on bed

Elyse Cohen, vice president of social impact and inclusion for Rare Beauty and president of the Rare Impact Fund, added “McLean’s programs are always evidence-based and that’s very important to us. We liked the opportunity to scale an educational campaign to audiences throughout the U.S. and beyond, and believe that webinars are a format that can reach a lot of people.”

If the past is prologue to the future, Rare Impact-funded webinars will have a large viewership.

McLean launched its educational webinar series in 2020, during the height of the pandemic, and it currently reaches about 1,000 viewers a week in 100 countries. The new installment seeks to reach an even broader audience, especially targeting underserved areas in the United States, South America, and certain Asian countries, including India and Pakistan.

“Selena and the Rare Impact Fund understand that improving mental health literacy reduces stigma and helps people make good health decisions and take better care of their own mental health,” said McLean President and Psychiatrist in Chief Scott L. Rauch, MD.

“We are very grateful for this gift, which will enable us to educate many more young people and others here in the U.S. and abroad.”

The Webinars

Each biweekly, one-hour webinar starts with a short explanation of the topic by a McLean expert, followed by questions from the audience. The sessions are live and recorded for on-demand viewing later. Subtitles are available in Spanish, and in Hindi and Mandarin for certain episodes.

Webinar topics are wide-ranging and attuned to culturally sensitive issues, such as the impact of mental health stigma in various cultures. McLean experts with diverse backgrounds are being tapped as presenters.

Past webinar titles have included:

Cohen said the Rare Impact Fund is confident in McLean’s ability to choose the most relevant topics for the new webinars, but suicide and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) are two they hope receive some airtime.

“Suicide is the second leading cause of death in the Gen Z population—who are roughly between 10 and 25 years old today. Also, Selena is a huge proponent of dialectical behavior therapy, which is a very effective treatment for several disorders, but not as accessible as it should be,” said Cohen.

“Selena’s dream is that more people can access the fundamental elements of DBT treatment.” DBT teaches people how to cope with stress, regulate emotions, and improve interpersonal relationships.

Gomez and the Rare Impact Fund

Gomez is no stranger to McLean. In 2019, she received the McLean Award, presented to one person a year who furthers the public’s understanding of psychiatric illness and mental health. And in 2020, she spoke publicly about being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and treated at McLean.

The Rare Impact Fund aims to raise $100 million in the next decade to help address gaps in mental health treatment, particularly for underserved communities.

“Our hope is that McLean’s webinar series helps equip young people and those who support them with tools and resources, reduces stigma, and increases the conversations around mental health,” said Cohen.

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