Youth Innovators Leading the Way

CCANO’s Immigration and Refugee Services program was one of five pilot organizations out of 250 applicants chosen for CONNECTED, a two-year initiative from the National Council for Behavioral Health designed to reduce anxiety, depression, and suicide among young people in underserved communities, while empowering youth to engage in meaningful community change. The National Council for Behavioral Health launched this groundbreaking initiative to increase access and engagement in quality, appropriate care for culturally diverse populations that experience barriers to mental health support systems. The youth innovators selected to participate in this innovative opportunity will engage with mentors throughout the community to use their voice and experience to champion youth engagement in mental wellness using peer-to-peer learning.

Recently, CCANO Immigration and Refugee Services staff members accompanied the participants to the National Council for Behavioral Health’s annual conference in Nashville. These youth change-makers were not only able to connect to their peers from the other participating organizations but also build relationships with healthcare professionals from across the country in conference workshops and sessions. While they learned a lot from the experienced professionals, they were also able to share feedback as to how these healthcare providers could better connect with teenagers who are traditionally overlooked or disconnected from mental health services. In the future, The National Council for Behavioral Health hopes to provide opportunities for the participants to present their own sessions as they develop as leaders and communicators.

CCANO is excited to see how these youth leaders grow as individuals and help their communities grow as well!