Symptoms of depression and anxiety have doubled during the pandemic for youth across the country, according to the United States Surgeon General.
During the past two years, 25% of youth experienced depressive symptoms and 20% experienced increased anxiety. To help center youth voices in mental health reform and programming in Los Angeles County, The Youth Commission is hosting a “Centering Youth Voice in Mental Health” panel event, scheduled Feb. 10 in partnership with the Board of Supervisors and the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. The panel will consist of youth commissioners, mental health experts from the Department of Mental Health and UCLA Public Partnership for Wellbeing, and community mental health advocates.
“Young people in L.A. County are resilient and strong. By seeking their feedback for improving mental health and wellbeing services across the county, we can help youth-serving organizations meet their needs and prevent future mental health crises,” Commissioner and panelist La’Toya Cooper, who represents the 2nd District, said in a prepared statement.
Youth, community members, agency partners, community-based organizations, philanthropy and media partners are invited to join and learn more about how to center lived experience and youth voices while responding to the mental health crisis impacting youth in L.A. County.
Co-sponsored by 4th District Supervisor Janice Hahn’s office, this event is in response to a 2004 board motion and is designed to center the voices of young people with lived experience, who are all too often left out of the design of programs meant to support them.
“It is imperative that when we consider a path forward in helping L.A. County’s youth recover from the pandemic, we include them in building solutions. By convening mental health leaders and advocates, the Youth Commission is helping return authority to L.A. County’s youth in healing their communities,” Hahn said in a prepared statement.
“The Department of Mental Health is deeply committed to the wellbeing of youth in L.A. County,” DMH Director Dr. Jonathan Sherin said in the statement. “We are thrilled to partner with the Youth Commission, which is positioned to help amplify the voices of young people who have never had a proper platform for providing input to county systems. It is our belief that the Youth Commission will inspire new and more effective models of mental health care for young people in L.A. County.”
“The issues facing youth are more complex than ever before. School closures, our ongoing reckoning with racial injustice present in our systems, and the negative impacts of social media, all represent challenges to youth wellbeing. We must collaborate on solutions that work for the youth we serve,” said Dr. Tyrone Howard, an education expert and panelist from the DMH + UCLA Public Partnership for Wellbeing.
The Youth Commission welcomes suggestions for panelist questions from community members. If you would like to submit a question to the panel, submit it to the Youth Commission Instagram page @lacounty_youthcommission by Friday. The event is scheduled 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 10. Registration Link: www.surveymonkey.com/r/Y3LL3G3. The meeting link is bit.ly/3ubDTwl. You can also RSVP by emailing [email protected] or calling 213-633-5599.