GLOUCESTER — Public Health Director Karin Carroll and Regional Prevention Director Amy Epstein are pleased to share that the Regional Youth Coalition will host a free event promoting mental health care among teens this weekend.
Saturday, June 19 from 12-3 p.m.
The event will be held regardless of weather conditions.
Obear Park at 145 Livingstone Ave, Beverly
The Regional Youth Coalition is hosting North Shore Teen Mental Health Day this weekend, open to all area high school students. The free, rain or shine event will feature a mini-carnival with food, a DJ, lawn games, therapy dogs, art stations, Juneteenth education and activities, a photobooth, raffles, airbrush tattoos, plate-smashing and information tables with mental health and other community resources for young people.
Community groups to be represented include: Gloucester Health Department, Younity, NAMI, Children’s Friend and Family, Beverly Library, Dog B.O.N.E.S. Therapy Dogs of Massachusetts, The Artful Life, YWCA North Shore Rape Crisis Center, Youth Peace Movement, Gloucester Youth Leadership Council, SAGA Cape Ann/NAGLY, local mental health counselors, and more.
The Regional Youth Coalition formed in December 2020 and is a part of the Regional Youth Prevention Network. The coalition includes more than 50 high school students from Gloucester, Beverly, Essex, Manchester, Ipswich, Danvers and Rockport.
In their bi-weekly Zoom meetings this year, the Regional Youth Coalition has focused on learning about risk and protective factors, public health work, and how to use data to assess appropriate strategies to address community issues. The group worked with Youth Risk Behavior Surveys from each town, which they used along with the individual experiences of their peers to identify the most important focus of their first strategy.
When asked to discuss the biggest issues facing people their age, the coalition quickly identified mental health as a topic they wanted to focus on. They strategized over many weeks about how they could promote mental health care among their peers.
“North Shore Teen Mental Health Day is for high school aged youth and is intended to spread mental health awareness and resources, and also for us to simply enjoy parts of life many of us miss as we get older; as well as providing some fun and lightness during this tough time,” said Annika Johnson, a youth coalition member and freshman at Ipswich High School.
In the region’s most recent Youth Risk Behavior Surveys, more than 30% of area high school students said they “felt depressed enough for at least two weeks that [they] stopped usual activities.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7.1% of children and teens ages 3-17 have been diagnosed with anxiety, and 3.2% of children and teens in that age range have diagnosed depression.
The Regional Youth Prevention Network is a coalition of direct service agencies, stakeholders and other representatives from Gloucester, Manchester, Essex, Rockport, Ipswich, Beverly, and Danvers. The network meets regularly with the mission of connecting direct service providers to close gaps and share prevention resources and best practices.
For more information contact Regional Prevention Director Amy Epstein at [email protected].