The Youth Mental Health Academy, a pilot program in partnership with the Child Mind Institute, is aimed at providing high school students from marginalized backgrounds in Los Angeles, California, the opportunity to explore careers in mental health. The program was tailored to address the lack of diversity in the mental health field and increase access to support for students of color, who are particularly vulnerable to mental health challenges.
The Academy is designed to expose students to mental health professions through project-based learning and offers college readiness skills. The program provides free education taught by experienced mental health professionals and offers students the chance to earn up to $2,000. It focuses on reducing stigma, identity, participatory research, and community engagement.
The program targets high school juniors and seniors from underrepresented backgrounds, including LGBTQ+ students, those experiencing homelessness, and students from rural communities. It will be held at four community colleges in Los Angeles County and aims to offer mentorship, counseling, and internship opportunities in the mental health field.
The hope is to expand the program to other underserved communities in California, aiming to create safe spaces for students to discuss mental health challenges and increase the understanding and management of mental health issues within their communities. The program intends to empower young people with the tools and resources necessary to promote healing spaces and address mental health challenges effectively.