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
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 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
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