The Wellness, Health Promotion and Prevention team of the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB) has awarded mini-grants for nine 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 11, 2020.
Funding for the CSB's mini-grant program for youth-led projects stems from a regional suicide prevention grant from the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services and is conducted in collaboration with the Suicide Prevention Alliance of Northern Virginia (SPAN).
"This initiative allows 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 the CSB’s Wellness, Health Promotion and Prevention Services.
The grants were awarded to:
- Glasgow Middle School: Empowering Young Women to Lead with Kindness & Self-Respect.
- Community Preservation and Development Corporation - Island Walk: Youth Mental Health Skill Building
- Edison High School: Why Care?
- The New School of Northern Virginia: More than Moody
- Community Preservation and Development Corporation - Stonybrook: Treat Yo’ Self!
- DFS, Foster Care, Youth Advocate Program: Walk the Walk for Awareness
- Langley High School: Saxon Minds Matter
- Lanier Middle School: Mission Kindness
- Fairfax County Student Human Rights Commission: Mental Health Initiative
"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 they may experience due to their diagnosis."
By providing resources to youth-led projects, the CSB and SPAN seek 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.