Chinese Progressive Association
For Immediate Release: August 7, 2018
Contact: Frances Fu, firstname.lastname@example.org, 516-521-5917 (English, Chinese)
August 10th, 2018 11am-12:30pm
555 Franklin Street
San Francisco CA 94102
Support Youth MOJO’s Mental Health Public Campaign Launch, Our Healing in Our Hands
Regardless of where we come from, no matter what age we are, we all want to feel seen, heard, and valued as our full selves. These were the values that grounded Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) 華人進步會 Youth Movement of Justice and Organizing (Youth MOJO) 青年組織公義計畫 as they began organizing for their mental health campaign, Our Healing in Our Hands, last summer.
This Friday, August 10, at 11am, our youth will be launching our mental health campaign by sharing our demands and recommendations to SFUSD, as well as our findings around students’ personal mental health experiences and their experiences accessing SFUSD wellness resources, based on the results of nearly a thousand surveys that youth collected over the course of a year. Our findings include both quantitative and qualitative data around students’ feelings of safety, experiences of bullying, and their utilization of school-based wellness centers.
We often don’t notice mental health issues in students until it’s too late. Students of color, low-income youth, and gender non-conforming and questioning youth are disproportionately affected by issues that contribute to poor mental health. When students are in need of emotional support, instead of being sent to the wellness center for help, they are sent to the dean’s office to be disciplined and labelled as “disruptive”.
In our surveys, we discovered that around ninety-one percent of students have never seen a counselor at school and over half of the surveyed students have never gone to wellness centers. This is not due to a lack of need for mental health and wellness resources, rather it is due to a lack of trust towards wellness counselors with whom students don’t have relationships, low rates of referral to services, and cultural barriers, among other obstacles.
Lisa Lai, former student at George Washington High School and a former member of Youth MOJO, emphasized that “Many students do not use their school’s Wellness Centers due to a lack of diverse, trustworthy, and understanding adults and culturally competent resources.” While current resources exist, it is clear that additional outreach, services, and resources in understanding and aiding students’ mental, emotional, and physical health is necessary.
To address the lack of adequate mental health resources in SFUSD high schools, MOJO formulated 5 key demands. These demands include providing youth-anchored counseling, expanding current wellness funding, integrating culturally congruent mental health education, increasing youth voice in decision making around wellness budgets, and strengthening preventative care services.
Emily Yu, a member of Youth MOJO, expressed that “Most people only consider one’s physical health, and completely negate their mental health. Mental health can affect everything in our daily lives.” It is critical that SFUSD take proactive measures to combat the growing mental health crises that are often negatively internalized, in order to create genuine community participation in ensuring the well-being and success of our youth. We hope this launch will shed light on the need for more specific and equitable mental health outreach and engagement in our community and other communities whose stories often go untold!
About Youth MOJO 青年組織公義計畫:
Youth MOJO is a youth leadership development program of the Chinese Progressive Association for high school students in San Francisco. We work on social justice issues affecting low-income Chinese families such as healthcare, education, immigration, and workers’ rights by empowering young people to work towards positive change in our communities. Through Youth MOJO, youth develop and strengthen leadership, public speaking, outreaching, communication, advocacy and organizing skills while having fun and meeting new friends in a friendly and engaging environment.