CONNECTED is a two-year project that intends to reduce the impact of anxiety, depression and suicide among young people aged 10 to 24 in underserved communities, while also empowering youth to engage in meaningful community change.
With support from a private venture philanthropist, and in partnership with Change Matrix, Relias, Watauga Consulting and Youth MOVE National, the National Council for Behavioral Health launched this groundbreaking initiative to increase access and engagement in quality, appropriate care for culturally diverse, rural, LGBTQ+ and other youth populations that experience barriers to mental health supports. Recognizing that approaches are most effective when developed and implemented at the community level with involvement from those they intend to serve, CONNECTED will support new approaches for young people who may be experiencing these challenges across a wide range of settings.
The five pilot organizations chosen from more than 250 applicants are:
- Anchorage Community Mental Health Services – Anchorage, Alaska
- Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans – New Orleans, La.
- Motivation Education & Training – New Caney, Texas
- Mental Health Task Force of Washburn County – Spooner, Wisc.
- Whatcom Family & Community Network – Bellingham, Wash.
CONNECTED will achieve its goals by engaging committed participants nationwide:
- Five organizations will pilot leading-edge approaches and connect young people in their diverse and underserved communities to new types of mental health supports.
- Mentor organizations from across the country will draw upon their experience to help pilot sites elevate their approaches through a supportive peer-to-peer learning community.
- Twenty passionate young influencers aged 16-24 will connect directly with pilot organizations, mentors and throughout their community to use their voice and experience to champion youth engagement in mental wellness.
A comprehensive project evaluation, led by the Michigan Public Health Institute, will illuminate the driving factors that contribute to successful implementation and replication of effective approaches. Lessons learned and resources will be shared nationally in support of empowering communities to enact positive change.
Working together, we will reach our goal – helping healthy children grow up in healthy communities. Together our voices can make a difference.