Eight youth-led projects have been awarded mini-grants by the Wellness, Health Promotion and Prevention team of the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB) to help change the negative stigmas associated with mental illness.
The projects, all planned and led by young people, aim to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues among their peers. Each of the projects will be implemented by June 30, 2021.
Funding for the CSB's mini-grant program for youth-led projects is 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).
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.
"The purpose of the 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:
- Emi Van Winkle: Mental Health Awareness Campaign
- Lincolnia Community Center: Mental Health/Suicide Awareness Prevention Walk
- Kate Van Winkle: Connecting Through Comics
- Rams Minds Matter: Calm Café Lunchroom
- Wexford Manor Community Resource Center: Rock for Change
- Edison Minds Matter: Highlighting the “Unity” in Our Community
- Enterprise Community Development: Wake Up/Step Up Reston Youth Empowerment
- Jack Barnes: Buttons Unite Students
“Mental health conditions are common, with about one in every five adults in the US experiencing a mental illness, which most often begins appearing in the teenage years. Yet, people are often reluctant seek help because of fear and stigma,” says Zometsky. “Youth can drive a movement to reduce that stigma by helping to correct misinformation and show that talking about mental health and seeking help is okay.”
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).