In January there will be a social media conversation, 4 check-ins with mental health experts, and a panel discussion. This will lead to:
- de-stigmatization of talking about mental health,
- support with mental health for everyone (because everyone has mental health),
- more space in the community for mental health, and thereby a stronger, healthier and more resilient community.
Mental health is precarious for many youth who transition from high school into the next stage of their lives, as they have to make important choices that shape the rest of their lives, while experiencing the stress and challenges of becoming an adult. Some youth also face being racialized, and having less access to support than other youth.
Currently many youth also face the isolation and stress of COVID. The structure of their lives in these unprecedented times is undermined, and the relations they have with friends and other important people is affected. Many youth face loneliness and isolation.
We will work from three principles: Trauma-informed, Belonging-focused, Strength-based.
In many Black communities, mental health is stigmatized, and talking about your mental health issues can have social consequences. The ACMP aims to provide ACB youth the tools and safe opportunity to successfully talk about mental health issues in the open. To ensure that this discussion is trauma-informed, and attentive to stigma, the ACMP will engage with a range of experts from the mental health field, covering the most common and most harmful mental health issues that ACB youth face.
Furthermore, in spite of the bleak depiction above, the ACMP recognizes that ACB youth have developed many adaptive coping mechanisms that allow them to survive and thrive. The ACMP aims to support and share those strengths. Especially communities can be very important for that goal, and as a supportive factor in itself. The ACMP aims to strengthen communities and allow participants to connect with one another.
January is Bell let’s talk month. The African Caribbean Mentorship Program (ACMP) will offer our membership a range of opportunities to reflect, build skills, engage and learn more about mental health in this challenging time. There will be three main approaches: (1) a social media messaging campaign, (2) weekly check-ins and (3) a final panel discussion. This interactive format will allow the topics to be informed by questions of the audience.
Each week will focus on a separate topic by a different expert. Current topics and experts are:
- Stigma and barriers to mental health support
- Anxiety and Depression;
- Substance (ab)use.