Teen Mental Health Collaborative Holds Quarterly Meeting at Center of Life

On September 9, the Teen Mental Health Collaborative held its quarterly meeting at the Center of Life as an opportunity to network and collaborate, learn about family engagement strategies to improve teen mental health and wellness, and prioritize opportunities for staff skills development in mental health and wellness.

Approximately 20 people representing eight organizationsattended the in-person session. The collaborative welcomed new members J. Coley Alston, program director of the Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation, and Caitlin McNulty, founder and executive director of Brookline Teen Outreach, to its current roster of 15 partner organizations.

The collaborative shared strategies for family engagement and hear from Misty Woody, development officer at Allegheny Family Network, about their approach to family peer support for families with behavioral health needs. The group also identified regional training opportunities and expertise within the collaborative group to promote skills development in mental health and wellness among their staff in a discussion facilitated by Carol Frazer, JHF practice transformation specialist. Sarah Pesi, JHF policy associate, and Health Wilkes, policy manger for Allies for Children, provided an update on joint advocacy opportunities, following the May meeting when members met with several state and local representatives.

In 2020, JHF initiated the collaborative to facilitate opportunities for youth-serving organizations to share their approaches to providing emotional support, connection, and engagement for teens to learn from one another and to provide organizations with trainings and opportunities to share program ideas and expertise.

The collaborative is looking forward to continuing its work this school year by establishing a training schedule for partner organizations that utilizes trainings already being offered in community and new trainings in identified priority areas, working on creating a menu of services to better partner with schools around teen wellness needs, and working with organizations to advocate for policies that address teen mental health and connect advocacy efforts to PA Youth Advocacy Network teen-led efforts. 

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