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The Adolescent Behavioral Health Initiative began in April 2016 and aims to improve access to and accountability for effective behavioral health services for adolescents in Allegheny County and across Pennsylvania.

Community-based Youth Mental Health Services

Inspired by the Headspace youth mental health model in Australia, JHF backs community-based youth mental health services in the Pittsburgh area. JHF funding supported the creation of UpStreet, a service that provides an accessible online, text-based resource for Pittsburgh teens to receive mental health support from a licensed counselor. Managed by Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS), UpStreet offers a peer mentoring program, training workshops, and teen mental wellness programming. In addition, JHF awarded funding to Friendship Circle in support of the creation of a drop-in community space where teens can access wellness stigma-free support and connection with peers in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

To promote shared learning and community action on promoting teen mental health across Allegheny County, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) manages a Teen Mental Health Collaborative of community-based organizations that serve teens. Learn more about the Collaborative here.

Engaging and Supporting Youth

JHF is committed to creating opportunities for youth to raise their voices on promoting teen mental health. In collaboration with community partners, JHF’s work includes holding an internship and an advocacy series, and facilitating speaking engagements and meetings with elected officials for youth mental health advocates.  

JHF also funded and supported a University of Pittsburgh research project to create a series of films on mental health created by youth filmmakers in Pittsburgh. In this project, a group of eight youth across the city were trained to create, analyze, and screen their own films using a research method Collaborative Filmmaking to explore mental health stressors and supports in their lives. Read more about this project here.

Beginning in 2018, JHF developed the PA Youth Advocacy Network to bring together youth and youth organizations to share resources, collaborate on a youth-driven advocacy agenda, and effectively advocate for change. Read more about the PA Youth Advocacy Network here.

Contact: Deborah Murdoch

412-594-2572 | murdoch@jhf.org