PA YOUTH ADVOCACY NETWORK
Since 2018, JHF has sponsored and managed the PA Youth Advocacy Network, which is composed of representatives from 26 high schools and over 10 community partners who mobilize youth voice and effectively advocate for change around teen mental health. Youth advocates, connected as a powerful network for change across the Commonwealth, are committed to:
- Educating teachers and students in mental health
- Reducing disparities in mental health
- Promoting suicide prevention and awareness
- Creating safe and inclusive school environments
- Addressing mental health as part of health
Through the PA Youth Advocacy Network, teens have participated in a range of advocacy opportunities to inform our community’s response to the public health concern for teen mental health. JHF has organized a postcard campaign, meetings with elected officials, and a visit to Harrisburg. In 2020 and 2021, JHF held a youth advocacy workshop and panel for the Representative Dan Miller Disability and Mental Health Summit in Pittsburgh.
The PA Youth Advocacy Network drew statewide attention with a teen-authored proclamation to declare May 23, 2021 as Teen Mental Health Awareness Day in Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Pittsburgh City Council approved the proclamation.
In 2022, the PA Youth Advocacy Network is advancing a teen-driven advocacy platform of priorities for change. To connect youth across Pennsylvania with opportunities to advance the platform and promote teen mental health, JHF will engage high school students through a Teen Mental Health Advocacy Series. Read more about the platform here.
Youth advocate and Founder of Acknowledging Mental Health in Our Teens Together (AMOTT), Ayala Rosenthal, authored a Youth Advocacy Toolkit that is accessible here.
View a flyer for the Network here.
For more information, visit payouthadvocacy.org. If you are interested in becoming a part of the PA Youth Advocacy Network for teen mental health, please contact Deborah Murdoch.
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