With a packed auditorium of Pinellas County high schoolers, the 6th Annual “Rising Above” Youth Explosion concluded its three-day event with a focus on teens and mental health on Friday, July 21st. The event was hosted by the Clearwater Neighborhood Family Center, Juvenile Welfare Board, NAMI Pinellas, and St. Petersburg College Clearwater Campus.
Highlights included a dramatic pantomime skit that depicted how mental illness affect youth and families, performed by students from the City of Clearwater’s North Greenwood Recreation Center, Arts Conservatory for Teens, and Gibbs High School. The performance was followed by a panel of youth with lived mental health experiences who courageously shared their journeys and fielded questions from their peers.
In December 2021, the U.S. Surgeon General issued a rare public health advisory on youth mental health to address what he called an emerging crisis exacerbated by pandemic hardships. In May 2023, the Surgeon General once again issued a warning to Americans, calling the use of social media by children and adolescents an “urgent public health issue.”
The Juvenile Welfare Board invests in the Pinellas Children’s Mental Health Initiative, partnering with more than 100 organizations to intervene early in the lives of children, destigmatize mental illness, and host youth suicide prevention conversations to grow hope. The goal is to make caring for one’s mental health synonymous with one’s physical health.
“One day, we will only need to say health and it will be understood we mean a child’s physical and mental health,” added Rebecca Albert, Senior Strategic Initiative Manager with the Juvenile Welfare Board, who oversees the Children’s Mental Health Initiative.
To learn more visit: www.jwbpinellas.org/childrens-mental-health
Editor’s Note: Download featured photos and video clips from the event: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1mMLF0frQuqiVk5-Uo1Qij_hk6rh_IlZp?usp=drive_link
MEDIA CONTACT: Jennifer Dodd, email@example.com
ABOUT JWB: For more than 75 years, the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County (JWB) has been investing in the futures of children to strengthen our community. Governed by an 11-member Board and driven by data, JWB ensures children are ready to learn, ready to succeed, and ready to thrive in homes, schools, and neighborhoods that are healthy and safe. In FY22, JWB and our partners served more than 64,000 children and families through 85 programs with 50 nonprofit agencies. Plus, collective efforts to address childhood hunger, grade-level reading, and preventable child deaths served thousands more. In 1946, Pinellas County citizens were the first in the nation to collectively make children a priority by voting to enact the Juvenile Welfare Board Special Act into law. It was the first time in U.S. history that a special taxing district had been created to guard the rights and needs of children. Learn more at www.jwbpinellas.org.