The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB) has awarded eight mini-grants for youth-led projects that aim to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues among teens. All projects will be implemented by September 30, 2017.
Funding for the CSB's mini-grant program for youth-led projects is provided as part of a regional suicide prevention grant from the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS).
"The purpose of the program is to empower and educate our youth, so that they know how to recognize a mental health concern in themselves or someone else, and won’t hesitate to get help," says Jamie MacDonald, Director of CSB Wellness, Health Promotion, and Prevention Services. “One of our goals is to reduce any stigma associated with seeking help.”
This year’s mini-grant recipients include:
- Girls Inspired and Ready to Lead, Inc., which will host a mental health practitioner-led workshop for youth, followed by a messaging campaign, developed and carried out by teens, that focuses on providing encouragement and support to their peers.
- Hayfield Secondary School, where students will plan and lead Dare to Care Week and Wellness Wednesdays, promoting kindness, awareness, and coping strategies to reduce stress.
- The Josh Anderson Foundation, which will support the implementation of its new student club model, Our Minds Matter, in six high schools throughout Fairfax County.
- McLean High School, which will continue implementation of Sources of Strength, an evidence-based suicide prevention program that empowers youth to change unhealthy norms and culture.
- Providence Community Center, where youth will design and implement a social media campaign to combat stigma and promote help-seeking behavior.
- South County Middle School, which will host Laugh More, Stress Less Week, promoting stress reduction and management through activities developed by student leadership groups.
- The West African Community Collaborative, which will host three youth-led workshops for teens. The workshops will feature youth panel discussions on mental health awareness and local resources, with a particular focus on mental health awareness and building self-confidence among youth.
- Wesley Housing Development Corporation, which will host at its Lincolnia Community Resource Center a series of teen-led workshops titled “On a Mission to Mindfulness and Meditation.”
"One in every five people in the U.S. experiences a mental health disorder," says MacDonald. "Mental health disorders are common and treatable, but people are often reluctant to seek help because of the misunderstanding and a worry of stigma they may experience due to their diagnosis."
By providing resources to youth-led projects, the CSB seeks to inspire young people to be the driving force for a positive culture change to eliminate the stigma around mental illness.
Contact for news media inquiries: CSB Communications Team, 703-324-7000.