In the spring and summer of 2020, youth in the United States experienced a cascade of community trauma and stressors. The global COVID-19 pandemic swept through communities of color at alarming and disproportionate rates compared to white communities. The ensuing school closures, social isolation and dramatically reduced access to services and care, combined with the overall threat of the virus and the collective and individual grief over loved ones who died from COVID-19, have produced alarming mental health trends for young people. The public health crisis also coincides with horrific incidents of police brutality that have renewed momentum toward racial justice and healing in response to calls to action heard across the country. In light of the past year, with a devastating global pandemic and renewed momentum toward anti-racist policy solutions, the need for adequate, culturally-responsive and gender affirming mental health needs is as apparent and urgent as ever.
In response to the historic and quickly escalating crisis of mental health for youth from marginalized communities, The Children’s Partnership (TCP) and the National Black Women’s Justice Institute (NBWJI) formed The Hope, Healing and Health Collective (H3 Collective), a youth-led policy council, with support and thought partnership from adult allies within policy, research and direct service and government, that developed a policy agenda to build the capacity of youth-serving systems to provide effective and compassionate care to young people and their communities.
The report, Youth-Centered Strategies for Hope, Healing and Health, sets forth actionable solutions that policy-makers at the federal, state and local levels can implement to build a culturally-responsive and gender-affirming mental health care system for all youth, especially youth of color.
Webinar: Youth Mental Health
On July 20, were joined by an impressive panel of youth leaders from The Hope, Healing and Health Collective who shared important insights about youth mental health and action steps to start your advocacy for culturally-responsive and gender-affirming investments for mental health. We had a rich discussion with our youth panelists:
- Adria Marin, Las Fotos Project
- Hermela Goshu, Justice for Black Girls
- Jessica Arcos, Hispanas Organized for Political Equality
- Lizeth Mendoza, Gente Organizada
- Samantha Giles, Black Girls Smile
Our aim is to expand the availability and accessibility of culturally-competent and gender-responsive mental health services and supports to youth of color, particularly Black girls, Indigenous youth, and Latina girls who are experiencing historic, crisis-level rates of mental health needs and suicide risk. Despite evidence of a demonstrated need, behavioral health services are underutilized among communities of color.
The reasons why youth of color do not engage in traditional mental health services at rates that are proportionate to the need within those communities are complex — including limited access, social stigma, misgivings about the efficacy of treatment, and distrust of providers. Additionally, a lack of mental health care coordination with the broader health care system and other service providers fails to effectively engage the youth being served.
Learn more about the 15 grantees who led the H3 Collective! Awarded a total of $300,000, each of these organizations assisted TCP and NBWJI in developing the policy agenda that builds the capacity of the youth-serving systems of care to provide effective, compassionate, and culturally-responsive healing for young people from marginalized communities and identities. The grantees have experience and expertise in supporting the socioemotional well-being of youth of color through culturally-responsive youth services, including youth development, youth advocacy, peer support, restorative justice, and clinical mental health services.
Email Angela Vazquez
Policy Director – Mental Health, The Children’s Partnership