(Tucson, AZ – January 1, 2021) Help & Hope for YOUth, the youth mental health initiative started in 2018 by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Southern Arizona, will now be an initiative of Arizona Youth Partnership. Arizona Youth Partnership will create the opportunity for statewide expansion of the initiative and provide infrastructure support for the Help & Hope for YOUth Alliance, currently with over 50 members from Pima, Pinal, Cochise and Santa Cruz Counties.
The mission of Arizona Youth Partnership aligns with the goals of Help & Hope for YOUth and the focus on prevention and youth. Help & Hope for YOUth’s mission is to reduce the stigma of mental health conditions so youth ages 10-24 get the help they need when symptoms first appear. Arizona Youth Partnership builds solid foundations for youth and families by partnering with Arizona communities to prevent and solve local issues such as substance abuse, youth homelessness, lack of educational opportunities, teen pregnancy, and challenging family dynamics. With Help & Hope for YOUth joining Arizona Youth Partnership, more community organizations and individuals will be mobilized to help young people struggling with depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions, especially as they cope with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the pandemic, young people are the ones struggling most with their mental health, according to the 2021 State of Mental Health in America report by Mental Health America. Based on the online screening offered by Mental Health America, not only are the number of youth searching for help with their mental health increasing, but throughout the pandemic youth ages 11-17 have been more likely than any other age group to score moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety and depression. In September 2020, over half of 11-17-year-olds who participated in the screening reported having thoughts of suicide or self-harm more than half or nearly every day of the previous two weeks.
“The need is so great to reach young people with ways they can cope with the effects of the pandemic,” said Lori Malangone, CEO of Arizona Youth Partnership. “We welcome this collaboration with the Help & Hope for YOUth initiative in including mental health education and advocacy in our prevention work. Our combined efforts can create a stronger voice in advocating for Statewide efforts to improve mental/behavioral health for youth in Arizona” AZYP staffs or provides technical assistance to over 20 adult and youth substance abuse coalitions statewide. Since substance abuse and mental health often go together, it will be a valuable component to add to the work of the coalitions.
Arizona Youth Partnership is providing online training in Youth Mental Health First Aid. Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach teachers, family members, caregivers, school staff, health and human services workers and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health challenge or is in crisis. Youth Mental Health First Aid is an approved curriculum for the Mitch Warnock Act passed in 2019 that mandates suicide prevention training for staff who interact with students in grades 6-12. Contact Mary Anne Fout, firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for a training. NAMI Southern Arizona will continue advancing the goals of the Help & Hope for YOUth Initiative by continuing to provide the stigma reduction program Ending the Silence (ETS).
Arizona Youth Partnership (AZYP) was founded in 1990 by a group of concerned Pima County citizens who sought to provide rural communities in the county access to the services available in the Tucson metro area. In 2006, AZYP expanded to serve rural communities across Arizona and seeks to employ a root cause approach to fighting poverty by building healthy, self-sufficient youth and families through evidence-based prevention programs and community involvement. As of December 2020, AZYP serves youth in 11 of 15 counties throughout Arizona.
For information on the initiative or to become a member of the Help & Hope for YOUth Alliance, visit www.helphopeforyouth.org.
Major funding for Help & Hope for YOUth is provided by the David and Lura Lovell Foundation.
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Arizona Youth Partnership (AZYP) is a non-profit that builds solid foundations for youth and families by partnering with Arizona communities to prevent and solve local issues such as substance abuse, youth homelessness, lack of educational opportunities, teen pregnancy, and challenging family dynamics. For more information: www.azyp.org or call 520-744-9595.