World Mental Health Day was yesterday, October 10th. The goal was to raise awareness of mental health issues and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health.
The NC Alliance of YMCAs will receive funding from the state to support teen mental health in our communities. Foundationally, we’ll be looking at mental health from a prevention and resilience lens, and growing capacity around supporting teens struggling with mental health issues, rather than a treatment lens.
According to YUSA's Mental Health Community Care Model Overview, informal care, which is where the Ys fit in, looks like this:
- Understanding mental health as something we all have—it is how we think, feel, and act
- Applying positive self-care practices routinely
- Engaging in conversations in a genuine way, with empathy and the intent of building meaningful relationships
- Understanding and applying trauma-informed guiding principles when interacting with others
- Understanding the impact of social determinants of health, systemic racism, discrimination, and marginalization on mental health
- Modeling emotion regulation, co-regulation, and effective coping skills
- Recognizing signs that someone may be struggling
- Connecting individuals to primary and specialty supports when needed
- Providing initial response in crisis situations
- Initiating dialogue and collaborating with others to embed mental health informal care supports throughout the community
Our Ys are not the experts on teen mental health, but we can partner with those experts in our communities and connect them to youth we serve – and additional teens our Ys will work to serve.
As a state, our Ys have been building our capacity to engage youth with social-emotional learning (SEL) and character development, which builds resilience to prevent mental illness. We will continue to build upon that foundation, now using those techniques with teens that we support at our YMCAs, or in other areas in our communities with other partners who also work with teens, such as schools, churches, other nonprofits, etc.
As we recognize World Mental Health Day and prepare to engage more deeply in this space for our teens, learn more about what we can be doing by exploring this content about Youth Mental Health on Link. The more NC YMCAs can learn now, the faster we will all be ready to dive into this work when the state funding is ready to be disseminated.