Youth Mental Health Advocacy Postcard Campaign 2019 Image

Join us in the new year as we let our elected officials know that youth mental health matters!

An inexpensive and impactful way to catch the attention of elected officials is with a postcard push of hand-written messages on a specific topic. Starting in January, students in Southwestern Pennsylvania are invited to join a postcard campaign at the beginning of 2019 to share what is important to them around the issue of teen mental health with PA state representatives.

The Jewish Healthcare Foundation is organizing the advocacy postcard campaign beginning January 7, 2019 focused on the issue of teen mental health. The campaign begins on Monday, January 7th and it will end on Thursday, January 31st. Youth will identify their state legislators, and send them a personalized message with their concerns regarding teen mental health and their desire to improve the mental health safety-net for teens. Stamped postcards with a message template will be provided, and student leaders are encouraged to invite others in their groups to join the effort.

The postcard campaign toolkit (attached below) provides detailed instructions to participate. Please take this opportunity to continue to strengthen the youth voice across Pennsylvania.

To receive pre-stamped postcards, email Ashley Chung to confirm your participation and include the number of postcards you’re requesting based on your goal. Please include the name of the student and student advisor learning the project and their contact information. Postcards will be delivered to your school or group the week of January 7th.

Messages and calls to action that came from the youth at our Youth Adovacy Summit:
• Expand mental health training for teachers and teens
• Build safe, supportive, and inclusive school communities
• Address disparities in school resources
• Reduce mental health stigma
• Recognize community trauma

Important data to remember and possibly use in your message:
• 38% of PA students in middle school and high school reported feeling depressed or sad most days in the past 12 months (PA Youth Survey).
• The average ratio of students to school counselors in PA is 387 to 1 compared to the national recommendation of 250 to 1.
• The average ratio of students to school social workers in PA is 2,285 to 1 compared to the national recommendation of 400 to 1.
• Just 39.3% of all adolescents with a major depressive episode received treatment in the past 12 months (SAMHSA).
• There are severe shortages of behavioral health providers in 85% of States, including PA, and only 17% of child psychiatrists are taking new referrals in major cities. 
• Young adults ages 18 to 25 with any mental illness are less likely to receive mental health services than older adults (33.6% for 18-25 year olds, 44.2% for 26-49 year olds, & 49.9% for those age 50 or over) (SAMHSA).

If you don’t know who your state legislator is you can find out at:

All groups who participate are asked to track the number of postcards they send out and any responses they receive. The information from the responses will inform our youth advocacy efforts going forward. The group that sends the most postcards will be eligible to win a prize.

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