Mental Health Awareness Project
In 2017, Youth Advocacy Corps launched a year-long Mental Health Awareness Project (MHAP) in East New York, Brooklyn. The project was conceived by Saddiq Abdul (YASI '15) as his individual advocacy project while working with YASI. You can read more about why Saddiq wanted to start MHAP here.
MHAP is led by a cohort of young adults working to serve as Mental Health Peer Advocates (PAs). Their communities struggle with stigma and a high number of undiagnosed and untreated mental health cases, and MHAP is working to tackle and bring attention to these issues.
Photo courtesy of Jeyhoun Allebaugh of Inspired Storytellers
MHAP has had three cohorts of Advocates, who have engaged in a wide range of activities. For example, they:
Engage in training in advocacy, community organizing, social justice reform, and mental health literacy conducted by local experts, community partners, and staff;
Identified, organized, and mapped existing mental health services in East New York and developed resource manuals;
Serve as community advocates and spread awareness through health fairs, workshops and the provision of resources and information at community-based help desks;
Testified before City and State Agencies (To read testimony click here );
Conducted field research to produce an issue report with Young Invincibles. The report was released December 2017. (To read the report, click here ).
The current 2020-2021 cohort of MHAP continues to meet weekly to discuss the importance of Mental Health in their communities, occasionally inviting speakers from partner organizations to lead conversations on related topics. In addition, they provide frequent workshops, conduct outreach, and disseminate critical resources through social media. Click here to find out more.
Also, please note that this year MHAP has begun to offer Spanish workshops, thanks to the dedication of some of our Bilingual Advocates. In addition to providing free workshops throughout all boroughs, our Advocates are also training to become Peer Counselors to aid in the mental wellness of NYC young people. Please contact us if interested in our Peer Advocacy Programs.