For Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, May 6, the Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) and the DC Anti-Tobacco Youth Coalition: Teens Who Don’t (TWD) dedicated a meeting to discuss mental health in the DC community. During the meeting, the young leaders watched “Caring for Every Child’s Mental Health” public service announcements from The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Proceeding the public service announcements, both TWD and YAC members discussed the state of mental health and substance abuse in schools and solutions on how to help their fellow peers cope with mental illness. Below are some of their thoughts:
“Mental health is important because mental health includes the quality of life. When we are free of depression, anxiety, excessive stress and feeling sorry, and other psychological problems, we are more able to live our lives freely. Counselors should be provided for people who are experiencing mental health issues. Another solution is to provide a doctor for those in the mental health group.”
– Kate, YAC Member
“I think mental illness plays a vital role in smoking tobacco because a person’s mental state is key when they are choosing to use drugs. I think the awareness about smoking and mental health should be broadcasted through public media (i.e. newspapers, radio etc.)”
– Ishante, TWD Member
“At the moment my feelings on the topic are a little mixed because a number of individuals with mental illness smoke to maintain a degree of self-control. As far as educating more people on the topic we should have mandatory classes on the subject so we have more people who understand mental illness and can help those affected in the most stress free manner possible.”
– Rodney, TWD Member
“Mental health is important among youth because the youth are the future. At least that is what everyone says. Nowadays in society you have to have a high school diploma and a college degree in order to get a great job and be successful. Everyone needs to have a chance at getting a good education and be able to make some money in order to live. Even people with mental health need to have an equal and fair opportunity.”
– Antonio, YAC Member
About Teens Who Don’t
The DC Anti-Tobacco Youth Coalition (TWD) is a youth leadership program established through the collaboration between the Office of the State Superintendent of Education-Division of Wellness and Nutrition Services and the Department of Behavioral Health-Tobacco Control Program. TWD engages youth in tobacco control and prevention by providing them with the opportunity to gain skills and authority to make decisions that help improve the policy environment, change social norms, and reduce smoking initiation and consumption in their communities.
About the Youth Advisory Committee
The Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) is comprised of 21 middle and high school students from the District of Columbia. The mission of the YAC is to develop a cadre of young leaders with critical thinking skills who will share knowledge and expertise around adolescent health issues. The YAC meets every week to develop youth led projects and insure activities implemented are meeting the needs of young people in the District of Columbia.
The Talk About It: Educator’s role in supporting young adults with mental health challenges
Brain Flight: How brain activity may influence the way a child thinks, feels or behaves.