Your Health Matters


Mental health youth summit open to middle, high school students

Student Mental Health
Posted at 10:52 AM, Sep 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-15 13:52:58-04

Tuesday the Living Works Youth Summit will hold a mental health and suicide prevention livestream in partnership with the California Department of Education. 23ABC's Daniela Garrido has more on this state-wide initiative.

"Several years ago suicide was the third leading cause of death for ages 10 to 24 and now that has moved up to the second leading cause of death so we need to take action," said Monica Nepomuceno with the California Department of Education.

In today's world, the California Department of Education has had to put mental health at the forefront of initiatives for this school year.

"What a lot of my peers are dealing with is either learning how to navigate these hard situations or giving up and I think that's common in online learning," said Cyn Gomez a college freshman at UC Berkeley.

For some students, going to school was a safe space whether it was a classmate or a peer that made them feel at ease. Now, with students, living and learning from home, the department of education recognizes their role.

"Primarily to save lives we recognize youth suicide is a public health issue that can affect anyone regardless of status or any other factor we want to make sure our students are safe and secure have the opportunity to be supported by their schools and communities," said Nepomuceno.

Tuesday they will partner with the Living Works Youth Summit to bring entertainment and conversation surrounding mental health and suicide prevention.
"Life isn't just about academic learning it's about having fun and establishing a toolbox to help you go through life," explained Nepomuceno.

The summit is free and open to all middle and high school students and staff in California. The CDE has promoted the event to school districts even as a class assignment.

"They can find ways to integrate this into their curriculum students can write an essay or reflect on the summit and training," said Nepomuceno.

Gomez will be one of the speakers of the event. She hopes to share her mental health story to inspire others to overcome.

"There is no way I can sugarcoat it hasn't been a hopeful time for most people, myself included, I recently went through a lot of hardship with financial aid."

She said she's noticed the challenge of distance learning in her peers.

"What that looks like is students either not feeling comfortable to log in to meetings or feeling physical and mental fatigue or them completely resigning from friend groups because they dont want to do social distance meetings."

According to Gomez, the summit isn't just for students or teachers struggling with personal mental health barriers - it also provides resources on how to address it with someone in your life.

"Whether or not your student or you are struggling with mental illness there is more likely than not someone around you who is and it manifests in different ways. Whether you are seeking help or being an advocate or ally for your loved one that can be a powerful move toward having a more constructive conversation around mental health"