December 16, 2014
YouthAction NYC Advocates for Greater Access to Mental Health Services for Teens
YouthAction participants meet with Manhattan Deputy Borough President Aldrin Bonilla to discuss their findings and recommendations related to teen mental health in New York City.
Since October, a new cohort of participants in CCC’s YouthAction Community Leadership Course (YCLC) have been studying the issue of teen mental health and exploring how teens learn about and access mental health services in their schools and communities. They spoke with experts from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Department of Education. They also conducted site visits and street surveys to gather additional data.
During a site visit to the Center for Family Life’s Sunset Park High School, YCLC participants learned about the community school model and how a positive school culture can prevent bullying and peer pressure from negatively affecting students’ mental health. At the Door, they were able to see the value of providing comprehensive wrap-around service to young people in one place which decreases the likelihood that mental health issues will go untreated. They also visited the JED Foundation and learned about effective suicide prevention strategies.
YCLC participants developed a survey in order to poll their peers’ perceptions on teen mental health. They collected 168 responses from New York City high school students and analyzed the resulting data. Some of the most compelling statistics revealed that 79% of respondents know a teen with a mental health issue, 83% think stress is very common among NYC teens, and 72% strongly agree that bullying is a contributing factor to mental health issues in teens.
After much discussion about what they learned, YCLC participants put together a set of Findings and Recommendations which they then shared with public government officials. They met with the offices of New York City Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services, the Manhattan Borough President, and City Council Member Helen Rosenthal, urging them to make teen mental health a priority.
We are very proud of our youth advocates and congratulate them on a job well done. We have been so impressed with their poise, professionalism, and dedication to advocacy. We expect to see great things from these future leaders and hope to see them next semester as YouthAction Members!