Being a young adult comes with unique challenges, with many individuals preparing to make huge life changes that include moving out or away for the first time, going to college or getting a job, and forming new sources of community and belonging. For those who are currently making this transition, the stress of COVID-19 has greatly impacted decision making and wellbeing, with a survey from Oglethorpe University revealing that a drastic 78% of their students observed a decrease in mental health during and after the pandemic. Clearly, the ever-present expectation to adjust to these large life developments cannot be met without support from important adults and institutions as well as individual and community resiliency. Yet, if students and other young adults are under the burden of mental health issues, it seems nearly impossible that these monumental changes can work to the benefit of this population.
With an increased recognition of the mental health needs of young adults, as well as the ways in which institutions haven’t always adequately supported these needs, we felt it was important to come together and discuss the inspiring work being done to create upstream approaches to young adult mental health. On March 24th, 193 attendees joined in to listen to our partner organizations discuss the strategies they are implementing to uplift young adults in Georgia. In case you missed it, you can view the meeting in its entirety at this link. Although the speakers’ talking points spanned from higher education to the foster care system, they shared one thing in common - a focus on building resiliency for individuals aged 19-26.
To start, we would like to highlight how the Community Resiliency Model (CRM) is being used to support young adult mental health. At Resilient Georgia we talk a lot about the many uses of CRM, especially when recognizing the valuable work of CRMGeorgia, the central hub in the State of Georgia advancing trauma- and resiliency-informed CRM. CRM utilizes self-care, resiliency, and internal resources to promote a greater sense of well-being and emotional stability for individuals. Bridges to Therapy is a behavioral health integration approach that utilizes CRM as one way of addressing the need for improved access to pediatric behavioral health services in Georgia. The Center for Interrelational Science and Pediatrics, Resilient Georgia, and the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities support community members and leaders through monthly Bridges to Therapy training and consultation opportunities. To request a Community Resiliency Model training, please complete the Community Resiliency Model training request form or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To speak to the clear need for services and support from higher education, we invited experts from Georgia universities to speak on their current and upcoming work that addresses students’ mental health. The University System of Georgia’s (USG) Mental Health Task Force, appointed in 2019, has worked to identify areas of need and recommend how to expand mental health support services for students. Their focus currently includes strategic planning, clinical support, and campus mini-grants that center on reaching the most USG students possible. Oglethorpe University Counseling Center offers mental health, wellness, and consultation services to support the campus community and current students’ pursuit of their academic and personal goals. Their programs are designed to empower and motivate students to promote change about issues relating to health and wellness. The H-STAT Student Taskforce on ACEs and Resilience (STAR) aims to unite students across disciplines and universities in Georgia to increase awareness and provide resources for the next generation to practice trauma-informed care, no matter their professional path. Be sure to sign up for their Trauma Informed Care Conference taking place on October 22, 2022.
We also got to learn so much about community based organizations with programming targeted at this population. Silence The Shame, Inc. is a mental health education and awareness non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating mental health stigma, reducing health disparities, and improving rates of suicide among vulnerable populations. Their new College Ambassador Program is a peer support program to navigate adulthood, mental wellness and promote social connectedness among colleges & universities. The goals are to enhance mental health awareness, education, and partnerships to promote professional help. Additionally, Silence the Shame's incredible Teen Mental Wellness Courtside Chat with Chlöe Bailey and Trae Young (in partnership with the Atlanta Hawks) is still available for viewing. Our partners over at Covenant House provide housing and supportive services to youth facing homelessness, putting them on a path to independence. LifeSet is Youth Village’s intensive, community-based program that acts as a bridge from foster care to successful adulthood for young people who turn 18 in foster care. It is a studied, comprehensive program that helps young people in many areas of their lives including relational permanency, housing, mental and physical health, career and employment, life skills and education. Youth Villages Mentoring Program provides volunteer mentors to support the LifeSet and residential youth in our care. If interested in becoming a YV mentor, check out how to get involved here. For more information about the partners who presented, as well as additional resources we love in Georgia, be sure to visit our General Meeting page, where you can access the meeting slides as well as a follow up document with links and answers to questions from participants.
Who we are: Resilient Georgia is a statewide coalition of more than 600 partners and stakeholders committed to building a stronger, more resilient Georgia. Through a network of public and private partners, Resilient Georgia is creating a pipeline of trauma-informed behavioral health services and resources that support child and family wellness. This integrated system includes prevention, early intervention, research, advocacy and policy, and System of Care implementation and coordination. Resilient Georgia’s Grantee Program comprised of diverse, robust, and well-planned public-private partnerships with a regional behavioral health focus are currently underway across 95 counties (60% of Georgia). All 12 Resilient Georgia regional grantee coalitions are deeply engaged in their work to prevent and heal childhood adversity, provide an emphasis on trauma-informed awareness and care, and promote resilience with the children and their families in their communities. To learn more about our regional coalitions, check out the Resilient Georgia website. You can also find us on social media: @resilientgeorgia on Instagram and @resilientga on Facebook.