Thinking About Mental Health is an initiative for youths and young adults which started at Explora during the COVID-19 pandemic. The initial goals of the program were to provide a series of videos with mental health professionals answering questions directly asked by the young adults employed at Explora, as well as an informative, accessible website with further reading and resources. Following these conversations, we evaluated what the teens told us by creating themes around topics. We used these themes to craft questions that would address the majority of the concerns posed by the teens in a concise manner. Since maintaining a teen lens was a priority for us during this process, we continually checked in with them to get feedback. Once we had a final draft, the mental health professionals were gathered to review and add their specific specialty views on the video question prompts and add anything further they really wanted to address. The two main takeaways for the audience of this poster are 1) conversations about mental health are important to have in every community, especially targeting youths to young adults and 2) beginning these conversations within your own community should involve local partners such as school districts and mental health organizations, as well as the youths and young adults themselves. Explora will be continuing to use and expand the importance of mental health among all young adults throughout our organization's culture and directly into our new teen center X Studio and all its programming. We are committed to continuing to have conversations with the teens we employ and serve from our community to keep this topic relevant and useful to them. With the right tools, conversations about mental health can be started by anyone, not just specialists.
Everhart, Caitlin; Trish Marquez; and Jeanette Ortiz. "Being Okay with Not Being Okay: Thinking About Mental Health." (2022). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/hsc-bbhrd/48
Poster presented at the Brain & Behavioral Health Research Day 2022