In 2016, California Youth Connection (CYC) was awarded a three-year contract with the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC) to facilitate the engagement of transition age youth (TAY) stakeholders with California’s mental health systems. Bringing decades of experience facilitating youth-led outreach, training, organizing, and advocacy as well as in-depth understanding of the state’s child serving systems, CYC gathered young people from around the state to guide a program that would elevate youth voice as one strategy to improve and transform systems.
CYC launched the youth-led project in the fall of 2016 with the goal of reducing stigma around mental health and improving services for transition age youth in California. The youth board chose to name the project “No Stigma No Barriers” (NSNB) to emphasize their commitment to eliminating stigma around mental health and breaking down barriers—both internal and external—to wellness.
“Mental health programs should be unapologetically original. They shouldn’t be one-type-of-healing fits all, but programs and healing methods should be tailored to the individual.”
—MALAYSIA PARRIS, NSNB BOARD MEMBER
We are proud to share the third and final State of the Community report developed by our No Stigma No Barriers (NSNB) TAY mental health project.“POWER: Elevating Youth Voice and Engagement in TAY Mental Health Services” celebrates the work of the NSNB Board, CYC staff, MHSOAC, and community partners, and shares the perspectives and recommendations of the young people who have led the three-year project. We hope their voices will inspire the community to put youth voice at the center of analysis, planning, and oversight of California’s TAY mental health services.
We invite our entire community to read all three reports and join us in celebrating and facilitating authentic youth engagement.
”I don’t think my advocacy turns off. I’m not only an advocate when I’m with No Stigma No Barriers or when I’m at USC. I’m an advocate when I’m walking within the community; it surrounds the things I do. It’s not just a quality I turn on. It’s within my actions, it’s my motivation.”
—DANA LESUEUR, NSNB BOARD MEMBER
“Some of the people providing mental health services come from a different generation, and what was going on in their generation when they were this age is different from what’s going on for our generation. So they should respect the perspectives of young advocates and understand that we know how to support our generation and the mental health issues happening for youth in our time.”
—RICARDO ORTEGA MARTINEZ, NSNB BOARD MEMBER