OAKLAND, Calif. June 17, 2021 – Only one in four young people think they can make a change in mental health in their communities, according to Mental Health America’s Young People’s Mental Health in 2020: Hope, Advocacy, and Action for the Future report.
To strengthen and help bolster advocacy efforts and turn frustration into action, 20 young adults ages 16-24 from across the United States have joined a newly formed National Mental Health Advisory Board, with the support of Active Minds, Well Being Trust, and Young Invincibles.
This Board will lead the vision, development, and creation of a policy and advocacy digital tool focused on empowering young people to advocate at the intersection of mental health and social issues important to them. Debuting in late 2021, the new tool will give expanded access to resources for young adults exploring the world of mental health policy at local and state levels.
“I’m excited about the Board because of the opportunities to share information I have learned from years of policy analysis and to learn from others who have diverse backgrounds and experiences,” said William McClain, incoming freshman at Stanford University. “I am positive that at the conclusion of this board engagement, significant impacts and contributions will have been made to elevate the priority of young adult mental health in the United States.”
Alexandra Salazar, a student majoring in Music Performance at University of Colorado Denver agreed, “My mission is to help and educate people about mental health, and to share my story to help people understand they are never alone in their hardships with mental health.”
Throughout the one-year advisory board term, these young adults will define, shape, and launch a product that aims to equip young adults with the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully advocate for mental health policy change. Board members will work closely with representatives from Active Minds, Well Being Trust, Young Invincibles, and Hopelab and will get additional support from organizations championing young adult mental health, including The Steve Fund, Mental Health America, The Center for Law and Social Policy, The Trevor Project, and The Prevention Institute.
The 2021 National Mental Health Advisory Board is comprised of young adults from across the nation from college campuses, nonprofits, and the performing arts.
Meet the 2021 National Mental Health Advisory Board:
- Ysabelle Abraham (Houston, Texas)
- Jorge Alvarez (New Brunswick, New Jersey)
- Rachel Cohen (Norfolk, Massachusetts)
- Jeremy Fine (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)
- Kaitlin Ingram (Seattle, Washington)
- Nicolette Kolpakov ( Denver, Colorado)
- Kelly Maguire (Westbrook, Maine)
- William McClain (Augusta, Georgia)
- Rose Nguyen (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
- Rachel Neilson (Whippany, New Jersey)
- John Padilla (Bozeman, Montana)
- Jimena Perez (Chicago, Illinois)
- Alyssa Rizo` (Pueblo, Colorado)
- Alexandra Salazar (Denver, Colorado)
- Carissa Samuel (Newark, California)
- Ilakkiya Senthilkumar (Richmond, Virginia)
- Gabrielle Smith (Rapid City, South Dakota)
- Trace Terrell (La Pine, Oregon)
- Claire Yu (Naperville, Illinois)
- Olivia Zhen (Dallas, Texas)
About Active Minds
Active Minds is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization supporting mental health awareness and education for young adults. Active Minds has a presence on over 800 college, university, and high school campuses nationwide, and is powered by a robust Chapter Network, the nationally acclaimed Send Silence Packing® exhibit, and inspiring Active Minds Speakers. The organization is dedicated to ending the silence and changing the conversation about mental health for everyone. To learn more, visit www.activeminds.org
About Well Being Trust
Well Being Trust is a national foundation dedicated to advancing the mental, social, and spiritual health of the nation. Created to include participation from organizations across sectors and perspectives, Well Being Trust is committed to innovating and addressing the most critical mental health challenges facing America, and to transforming individual and community well-being. For more information, visit wellbeingtrust.org
About Young Invincibles
Young Invincibles is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to engage young adults ages 18 to 34 in the political process and expand economic opportunity for our generation. Founded by and for young adults in the summer of 2009 during the debate over health care reform, YI has quickly grown into a leading voice for young people on the broader spectrum of economic justice, with a focus in the issue areas of health care, higher education, and economic security. The organization has achieved major successes in areas ranging from the regulation of college health plans to Pell grants, and has successfully engaged hundreds of thousands of young adults online, through a network of over 100 partner organizations. https://younginvincibles.org/