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Youth given a voice on mental health issues

On May 18, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance to create the Behavioral Health Youth Advisory Board, which creates an opportunity for youth leaders to have a meaningful voice in the systems that provide mental health and wellness supports. This new board gives youth a platform to bring their ideas around policies and programs that will lead to a youth-friendly mental health system by providing direct access to the mental health systems leaders and decision-makers. This will be the first behavioral health youth mental health board in the state.

This is dope because youth mental health is impacted by all systems that touch the lives of youth: schools, cities, counties, and community-based organizations.

Therefore, young people are best positioned to offer solutions to creating a mental health system that will best serve them, as they can offer a unique perspective on making the system responsive to their needs and more effective.

Behavioral Health Youth Advisory Board members will be Youth ages 14-24 who live in the County of Sacramento; who are currently or have been involved in the foster care and/or juvenile justice systems and/or who have been homeless/underhoused (preferred, but not required); who have lived experience with mental health challenges (preferred, but not required); and who are passionate about improving the system that provides mental health and wellness services to youth.

Behavioral Health Youth Advisory Board member responsibilities will include: a commitment of 6-8 hours per month, be available for two (2) meetings per month, dedicate time between meetings to work on YAB projects, and engage youth from other community-based and school-based programs who share an interest in youth mental health and wellbeing.

Behavioral Health Youth Advisory Board members will be supported with stipends ($1,500) awarded for meeting participation; support for transportation/food/technology to participate in meetings; regular mentoring by trusted adult allies; trainings and coaching on becoming an effective advocate and board member and on building knowledge about how the mental health systems work; and access to leaders and decision-makers through an Adult Allies Group.

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