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This past October, experts from around the state of Colorado including our Executive Director, Dr. Jason St. Mary, gathered in Colorado Springs to hold a panel on Youth Mental Health. Experts weighed in on statistics related to youth mental health issues and ways to solve the current post-pandemic crisis. According to Dr. K. Ron-Li Liaw who is the Mental Health In-Chief doctor at Colorado Children's Hospital, pediatricians in the southwest Colorado region are saying that 4 out of 5 young people are experiencing mental health issues.
The panel, which was hosted by the El Pomar Foundation and moderated by Jordan Chavez, Reporter/Anchor 9News, covered topics relating to suicide, the LGBTQ+ community, and the role that schools and youth organizations can play. The Executive Director, Cassandra Walton, from Pikes Peak Suicide Prevention Partnership, discussed how they implemented Teen Think Tank surveys across the region to understand what youth need and how to help them. What came out of the surveys with teens was that there were not enough trusted adults around to connect with. The teens also mentioned that they felt a lack of connection within their schools, communities, and homes.
Dr. Jason St. Mary of LPYS shared our approach to supporting students "where they are at" which is mainly at school and out in their community. One of the innovative solutions that LPYS has implemented following an intensive strategic planning session was the development of The Hub Therapeutic Program. The Hub is a wrap-around support initiative for youth who are several years behind academically and need to be in a supportive therapeutic environment throughout their day. High School students spend all day at The Hub while they receive counseling, academic instruction, and engage in extracurricular activities. This model works for students who are not successful in a traditional classroom. To support The Hub for the next 3 years, LPYS received a $625,000 grant from the American Rescue Plan Act through the Community Foundation Serving Southwest Colorado.
The panel concluded with a discussion about the need for ongoing, critical funding for these programs and how to better engage the entire community in supporting our next generation.
Watch highlights from the panel.
Watch the entire> panel.
Save the Date to donate to LPYS on Colorado Gives Day so we can continue addressing the mental health needs that youth have.
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