Many services and programs aim to help young people struggling with mental health problems or addiction. Now a new program is getting young people involved in designing the services themselves.
Teens in Bucks, Delaware and Montgomery counties are having their say with “My Life.”
“My Life” groups meet monthly to give young people a chance to talk about issues around mental health problems or addiction.
Many young people who come to the monthly sessions develop leadership skills and become more confident, experts say.
“Our goal is to help empower them so that they don’t have to continue to face these issues alone, but know that we are supporting them and assisting them to proactively address the issues that they are dealing with every day,” said Shannon Thomas, coordinator for children’s mental health in Delaware County.
Thomas says allowing teens to find solutions also helps mental health professionals develop more effective programs and services.
Kate Fisher, 18, of Delaware County suffered from depression. She was also bullied in high school. Since she started attending the “My Life” session, Fisher said she has become more confident and has made new friends.
She is now developing an outreach program for other kids. “It’s called the BFF project and it’s for victims of bullying,” said Fisher. “It’s just going to be a place where youth can go and feel comfortable. We’re going to do all kinds of different games … they can just have fun and make friends.”
This weekend, My Life groups from four counties will show off their work and ideas at a festival called “My Fest” in Norristown.
My Fest will take place Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Elmwood Park, 1661 Harding Blvd., in Norristown.