In these extremely unsettling times, it is more important than ever to do all we can to support the mental health of our youth. The impact of the pandemic on the mental health of our young people has led to a very serious public health crisis. As our youth are struggling with unprecedented uncertainty and isolation, their parents have had to become mental health counselors, as well as teachers and caregivers. Studies are already showing that the rates of adverse mental health conditions are on the rise, particularly among young adults and caregivers. When people are as aware of their mental health as their physical health, that knowledge translates into more caring communities overall, and empowers individuals in the community to look out for each other by being able to provide community and regional resources, as well as valuable peer support. Our educational programs increase awareness and empathy within communities. Studies also show that emotional connection and support improves mental health and increases resiliency. The Parent Support Network provides parents with the support they need to improve outcomes in their own communities. We educate, empower, and support families and communities by offering a broad spectrum of educational and supportive programs and events, such as film screenings, speakerships, workshops, and peer support groups. We have spoken to thousands of high school students, parents, teachers, and professionals at over 100 community events, schools, and conferences nationwide. The Youth Mental Health Project has and continues to develop strong partnerships with community organizations that are eager to bring our programs and tools to their communities. In the past year and a half since its launch, The Parent Support Network has opened support meetings in 10 communities, located in 5 different states. The Parent Support Network™ is a program of The Youth Mental Health Project that seeks to provide support for parents* (any adult caregiver, including guardians, parents, grandparents, foster or step-parents, of a young person between the ages of 1 and 24) who are concerned about the mental well-being of their children through confidential, in-person, peer-to-peer meetings in local communities. Parent support meetings are either in-person or virtual, confidential, and free for all parents and caregivers who are concerned about their children who struggle with anxiety, depression, mood dysregulation, or other emotional, behavioral, or mental health problems. A child does NOT need to have a diagnosis for a parent to benefit from meetings. The model is based on an open-dialogue concept and is driven by the needs of the parents in attendance at any given meeting. The Youth Mental Health Project partners with organizations and parents in communities to establish and build affiliates of The Parent Support Network. Volunteer parent Facilitators are vetted through an extensive application and interview process. Once accepted, Facilitators are required to participate in our training program and meet monthly with our staff to review progress and provide coaching support. Each local affiliate has access to our proprietary tools and materials and is furnished with customizable marketing materials and strategies to attract participants. Facilitators are also provided with a Facilitators Manual, in addition to organizational tools and communications templates to help manage, promote, and coordinate monthly or weekly meetings. Providing parents concerned about their children’s mental health with a dependable and caring network, valuable peer support, and education in their local communities is essential to helping families move beyond crisis and enable them to find the help they need. The data prior to COVID demonstrate the need: One in four adults in the U.S. (44.7 million) has a diagnosable mental health disorder. Half of all lifetime cases of diagnosable mental health conditions begin before the age of 14, and 75% before the age of 24. Mental health conditions are more common than heart disease, lung disease, and cancer combined. Mental health disorders are the number one disability in the world, according to the World Health Organization. Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder in the United States, half of which begin before the age of 8 years old. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in children ages 10 to 24.
We educate, empower, and support families and communities to better understand and care for the mental health of our youth.