PA Youth Advocacy Network Successes Highlighted at Recent Conferences
The PA Youth Advocacy Network's efforts to increase awareness of teen mental health issues and inspire young people across Pennsylvania to action were highlighted at two national conferences this month.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness held its annual NAMICon virtually June 14–16. The theme for the conference was "Together for Mental Health." PA Youth Advocacy Network members Connor Dalgaard and Luna Plaza were featured in one of the conference's Express Talks, a series of short, pre-recorded, on-demand presentations offering a quick take on a story, case study, idea, or technique. Their talk, "Youth Take the Whole Table," provided information about the Youth-Led Advocacy Platform. They discussed creating meaningful youth-adult partnerships in advocacy and the importance of taking care of yourself as a youth advocate to prevent burnout. They provided inspiration for youth to lead mental health efforts in their own communities.
On June 29 at the Grantmakers in Health Annual Conference on Health Philanthropy in Miami, Florida, Sarah Pesi, MSPPM, policy associate at Jewish Healthcare Foundation, presented in person and was joined by mental health advocate Connor Dalgaard virtually to deliver a Quick Take session titled "Amplifying Youth Voice to Promote Teen Mental Health." The presentation focused on JHF's unique approach to amplifying teen voice for system change. She highlighted the importance having teens involved in policy design and how various strategies can be used to engage with teens in a meaningful way. Connor shared his experiences as an advocate as part of the PA Advocacy Network.