Inspire USA Foundation

The Inspire USA Foundation is a national nonprofit organization based in San Francisco with a mission to help millions of young people lead happier lives. Working directly with teens and young adults, Inspire USA designs and delivers innovative technology-based services which promote mental health and prevent suicide.
Dec 20, 2013

Thank you!

Gratitude
Gratitude

Happy Holidays!

We'd like to take this time to thank all of our supporters! Our gratitude for your generosity for ReachOut.com is boundless. We have a lot to be thankful for in 2013, since we were able to do all of this:

  • Reached over 12,000 young people in the ReachOut Forums
  • Trained 45 additional Peer Supporters for the Forums
  • Started ReachOut TXT, a peer-to-peer support and information text service for teens and young adults going through tough times, with 10 tech-savvy Text Supporters
  • Started expanding ReachOut's LBGTQ content with the help of 10 energized Content Developers
  • Went to the White House in June to participate in the National Conference on Mental Health 
  • Presented ReachOut TXT at the informational hearing for the California State Senate’s Select Committee on Mental Health
  • Launched a nationwide social media campaign to promote help-seeking behavior and positive coping strategies in honor of International Suicide Prevention Week

Gratitude is not only limited to us. The youth who have found ReachOut have this to say:

  • Hi, I am so blessed to find a place where I can have support. ... I am here because I suffered sexual abuse and anorexia for years. I am just recently starting to move on and saw this as a great place of support. I am quite interested in how I can help support others too. 

  • thankyou so much everyone! your kind words mean everything to me! that's all I needed to hear. im making a change, im going to get better, and I WILL get better. youre all right, im here for a reason. Im not going to give up so easily, that's not me. Over the past 2 days ive made some changes, and ive said some things I needed to say. Im making peace with my past, and im eager to better myself everyday. I think im starting to find myself again. I have a small ounce of hope in me, and that's the most ive had in a long time! This might have been my hardest fall yet, but I WILL find a way out. I don't give up like that. You guys helped knock some sense into me. I guess I just needed to be heard, and understood. You guys were there and I couldn't thankyou enough... It cant rain forever, and if it seems like forever, kick that damn storm out! this is YOUR life, and its what you make it! so make the very best of it!  much love to everyone!

  • Thank you everyone so much for all the kind words! It means a lot to have a community that shows this much support. I don't even know any of you personally but I still feel like I'm not alone in this.

 

 

For all of these things and more, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts! 

Wishing you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

Nicola, Emily, Meredith, Michelle, Liz, Michael and Katherine

Links:

Oct 3, 2013

Can Texting Improve Mental Health?

How Do You ReachOut?
How Do You ReachOut?

ReachOut TXT Launches on October 7th!

During the rainy, third weekend of September, 10 young people came together at the Inspire USA Foundationheadquarters in San Francisco to kick off ReachOut TXT, an exciting new peer-to-peer mobile service offering confidential support and information through the powerful medium of text messages.

The 10 text-savvy teens and young adults who gathered for an intensive three-day training were selected from a pool of Bay Area applicants to become TXT Supporters. Ranging from 17 to 24 years old, each articulated a strong commitment to offering nonjudgmental support and providing positive and unintimidating perspectives on questions and concerns received during the weekly sessions (Mondays 4-8 p.m. PST).

In preparation for the October 7 launch, the TXT Supporters were trained by members of the Inspire staff, including ReachOut Mental Health Advisor Dr. Romi Mann. Over the course of the weekend, Dr. Mann led several in-depth presentations on issues ranging from relationship problems to depression. Between these interactive sessions and exercises designed to help texters foster trust, field difficult questions and adhere to safety protocols, each volunteer learned to provide empathetic responses to a wide array of questions.

As the weekend progressed and the training came to a close, these 10 new Peer TXT Supporters provided critical input on the program, suggesting more youth appropriate methods for supportive responses and asking crucial questions to help improve the service.

With October 7 just around the corner, these 10 new TXT Supporters eagerly await their first text, their chance to improve the lives of their peers and champion suicide prevention all through text messaging.

Help make a difference! Spread the word: If you know a young person looking for information, support, or just a good chat with a peer, encourage them to text "REACHOUT" to 877-877 on Mondays between 4-8 p.m. PST.

by Michael Young, Youth Coordinator

How Teens Answered 'How Do U ReachOut?'

What do former NFL player Keith Elias, "High School Musical" star/Gimme Mo CEO Monique Coleman and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline all have in common? Each of them joined ReachOut along with teens and young adults across the country in rocking the movement for suicide prevention this September by answering the brave question of 'How Do U ReachOut?'

On the ground and across social networks like FacebookTwitter and Instagram with the hashtag #HowDoURO, we were amazed by all the efforts we saw from young people and advocates for youth alike to share their coping strategies for tough times. 

Along with powerful images, we were touched by the outpouring of encouraging words. Our call to action inspired moving stories from young people and former NFL running back Keith Elias, honest answers ("I reach out when life's too hard to handle all alone.") and passionate rally cries for others to join the movement ("I reach out by speaking. Break the silence. Break the stigma. #HowDoURO") 

ReachOut volunteers from our Peer Supporter and Youth Council programs also played a key role in raising awareness for Suicide Prevention Month with outreach events held on campuses and in tandem with wider community movements like the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Out of the Darkness Community Walk in San Francisco.        

Whether expressed in e-cards, Instagram selfies or profile pics, we know the impact of the campaign was far-reaching and look forward to welcoming new members into the ReachOut community and making next year's Suicide Prevention efforts an even more spectacular affair!

by Meredith Sires, Web Editor 

 Inspire Presents to California State Senate

 Last week, Inspire USA had the amazing opportunity to present at the informational hearing for the California State Senate’s Select Committee on Mental Health. Poignantly titled “Every Life Matters: Implementing Effective Suicide Prevention Strategies in California,” the powerful proceedings were hosted by California Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose). As Director of ReachOut California, I was honored to attend along with Emily O’Brien, our Director of Youth Engagement, and present on our exciting new peer-to-peer text message support program, ReachOut TXT. 

 
Other compelling hearing speakers included suicide survivor and author Kevin Hines along with Kevin Briggs, a Sergeant on the California Highway Patrol with a long history of enforcing suicide prevention efforts on the Golden Gate Bridge. Victor Ojakian, a staunch Suicide Prevention advocate in California, described his efforts to implement suicide prevention protocols in schools, and Michelle Thomas from San Francisco Suicide Prevention presented on the recent launch of their crisis text line, MyLife.
 
The hearing brought texting to the forefront as a critical new programmatic feature for encouraging young people to seek help during tough times. The insightful and empathetic Committee on Mental Health included Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), Senator Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro) and Assembly member Tom Ammiano. As we spread the word about the launch of ReachOut TXT, we are thankful to the committee for their dedication to the promotion of mental health and to reducing suicide rates in California.

by Nicola Survanshi, Director of ReachOut California 

Please think about giving to ReachOut today! 

Peer Text Supporters
Peer Text Supporters

Links:

Jul 26, 2013

ReachOut Forums Celebrate 1st Year!

Meet the Peer Supporters
Meet the Peer Supporters

Peer Supporters Celebrate Forum Anniversary

This May marked the one year birthday of the ReachOut  Forums and the young people  who help moderate them,
known as Peer Supporters. To celebrate, Inspire USA and nine peer supporters from all over California got together for a weekend of brainstorming, training and celebration. 

We kicked off the weekend with some dinner and bowling and then got down to the hard work on Saturday, when we discussed how to improve the program for the next cohort of 45 new Peer Supporters, who are starting this month. The Peer Supporters decided they wanted to play a leading role in mentoring the new cohort (check out the awesome introductory video they made above or on their YouTube channel!) and will be supporting them over the next year as they get trained up to moderate. Sunday we had a guest visit from NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Health) who provided some more training around mental health, before we had a whistle-stop tour of downtown San Francisco and said our farewells.

The celebration summit provided a great opportunity to reflect on the success of our first ever year in the forums, as well as a detailed looking at how we can make the program even bigger and better for 2013 onwards.

Know a young person in California between the ages of 16 and 24 passionate about helping others and interested in mental health? Encourage them to apply online to join the next cohort of Peer Supporters! See online application for more details.

by Liz Crampton, Online Engagement Manager

Inspire Welcomes Two More to the Team!

This month, Inspire welcomed aboard Liz Crampton as our new Online Engagement Manager and Romi Mann, Psy.D. as our new Mental Health Advisor.

Liz is the Online Engagement Manager at Inspire USA. She brings many years’ experience in online communications and campaigning from the non-profit sector. Liz has worked on a wide variety of issues including social justice, sustainability, indigenous rights, public health and conscious capitalism.

Liz is passionate about working with young people and worked closely with youth, schools and local authorities in the UK where she ran a national walk to school campaign.

Dr. Mann is a clinical psychologist with a strong interest in helping youth and young adults. He earned his doctorate degree from the Wright Institute in Berkeley,  CA and his dissertation researched parental relationships of gay men who had children after coming out. His specialties include LGBT identity development, depression, anxiety, trauma, and harm reduction of risky behavior. He has worked in a variety of school settings providing crisis support and management, individual and group therapy, and consultation to teachers, staff, and parents. He has also volunteered on a variety of crisis and support phone services. Dr. Mann maintains a private practice in San Francisco where he provides individual and couples therapy, supervision, and consultation. 

We're thrilled to have both Liz and Dr. Mann joining our team and look forward to sharing their contributions here!

by Meredith Sires, Web Editor

Inspire USA Goes to The White House

Inspire USA had a spectacular day at the National Conference on Mental Health at the White House on June 3! 

Invited as one of the innovative thinkers in the mental health space, members of the Inspire team convened with fellow nonprofits, policy makers and famous activists Bradley Cooper and Glenn Close to partake in the ongoing discussion around addressing and supporting mental health in the United States. Inspire USA founder Jack Heath, Board President Katherine Chon, Director of Youth Engagement Emily O'Brien and myself were all in attendance wearing our lime green mental health awareness ribbons, along with huge smiles! 

The day started off in the East Wing with an impassioned speech from Janelle Montano of Active Minds, introducing President Obama. The President then delivered a very engaging speech that focused on normalizing discussions of mental health - relating mental health help-seeking to getting treated for a broken arm or cancer – and elevating national mental health coverage and services.

Secretary Sebelius took over from there, hosting a panel that included Glenn Close, Norman Anderson, CEO of the American Psychological Association and former Senator, and Barbara Van Dahlen, founder of Give and Hour. There were about 10 senators in the audience, and former Congressman and mental health advocate Patrick Kennedy gave a powerful plea asking them to make sure insurance carriers are accountable for covering mental health in the Affordable Care Act.

We then left the White House  to head to the Executive Offices for short presentations hosted by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. DoSomething kicked off these sessions with an overview of the Crisis Text Line, a teen text service set to launch this summer whom we are collaborating with in the planning and implementation of our text-based information and peer support service, ReachOut TXT. Georgetown University, Upworthy and MTV's Half of Us/Love is Louder campaigns also presented on similarly forward-thinking initiatives that embraced technology to reach youth.  

After lunch, Bradley Cooper and Vice President Joe Biden wrapped up the day with speeches where the VP proved to be a regular stand-up comedian! 

It was an amazing experience, and we are excited to further the conversation on mental health and the work of ReachOut!

 by Nicola Survanshi, Director of ReachOut CA

Liz, our new Online Engagment Mgr
Liz, our new Online Engagment Mgr

Links:

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