Youth voices are essential to addressing the current mental health crisis, yet young people’s perspectives and ideas are often dismissed. Youth leadership programs can address this barrier and engage new advocates and empower current leaders. But, to be most effective, programs must meet the comprehensive needs of young people.
MHA’s 2022 Young Mental Health Leaders Council report provides guiding
recommendations to create leadership programs that support youth as people, in
relationships, and as part of larger social change ecosystems. This means shifting
practices of having power over young people to:
- Supporting young people to cultivate power within themselves,
- Building power with mentors through supportive relationships, and
- Organizing power to advance mental health through intentional intergenerational work.