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Huntsman mental health family donation
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Huntsman family gifts $150 million to U of U for mental health

University Neuropsychiatric Institute, or UNI, in Research Park in Salt Lake City is pictured on Monday, Nov. 4, 2019. Photo: Steve Griffin, KSL

SALT LAKE CITY —  Utah’s Huntsman family on Monday announced a $150 million donation to the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute, which will be renamed as the Huntsman Mental Health Institute.

It’s the largest single gift the University of Utah has ever received.

“We think that research is going to be the key to future diagnoses and treatments,” said David Huntsman, foundation president and chief operating officer of the Huntsman Foundation.

The family wants the money to improve mental health services and screenings for college students in Utah, and improve access to such services for people in rural areas.

They also hope the funding, which will be made available over 15 years, will create more research, provide for more mental health professionals, and shorten wait times for help.

Christena Huntsman Durham, Huntsman Foundation vice chairwoman and executive vice president, said they also want to help erase the stigma associated with mental illness.

“We are excited to put a name and a face to it, and start addressing real issues and stop the judgment,” said Durham.  “Every family deals with mental health,” she said. “We have either held the hand of somebody or had our hand held by somebody dealing with mental health.”

A report in the Deseret News says one in five Utahns experiences poor mental health, yet Utah is the last in the nation when it comes to access to services.