The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB) has currently awarded mini-grants for 6 projects, all planned and led by young people, which aim to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues among their peers. Each of the projects will be implemented by June 2nd, 2023.
Funding for the CSB's mini-grant program for youth-led projects is from a regional suicide prevention grant in collaboration with the Suicide Prevention Alliance of Northern VA (SPAN).
"The purpose of this initiative is for youth to lead the way in helping their peers and community to recognize a mental health concern in themselves or in someone else, and to not hesitate to get help," says Marla Zometsky, Manager of CSB Wellness, Health Promotion and Prevention Services.
The grants were awarded to:
Cedar Lane School: After School Boxing Club
Autumn Dunlop: Social Emotional Wellness Room
Liz Moran: Equine Assisted Learning
New Hope Church: Seen, Heard, Valued\Ananya Gottumukkala: You Matter
Healthy Minds Fairfax Youth Advisory Council: Bridging Minds Art Gallery
"One in every five people in the U.S. experiences a mental health disorder every year," says Zometsky. "Mental health disorders are common and treatable, but people are often reluctant seek help because of the misunderstanding and stigma.
For youth, studies show that stigma, trust and confidentiality are barriers to help-seeking. Youth are powerful leaders in overcoming the barriers to suicide prevention as they help to create messages and strategies that resonate with their peers. Their involvement has a profound impact on the culture of their schools and communities, ultimately leading to the social change that can help to increase help-seeking, reduce stigma and prevent suicide.
The CSB and SPAN seek to support young people to be the driving force for a positive culture change to eliminate the stigma around mental illness.
Interested in applying for a Youth-Led Mini Grant – look for the next opportunity in Fall 2023.
Interested in getting involved in other prevention focused youth initiatives, such as the Fairfax Prevention Coalition? Contact CSB's Wellness, Health Promotion & Prevention team.
Learn more about the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board.
Contact for news media inquiries: Lisa Flowers, Communications Director, 571-474-5435 (cell) or 703-324-7006 (office).