Where does Teen Health Mississippi serve? Does it only provide services where the two offices are: Jackson and Clarksdale, MS? 

Teen Health Mississippi has two offices, one in Clarksdale and one in Jackson. However, these are not the only communities that Teen Health Mississippi serves. These offices are just considered home bases for Teen Health Mississippi team members. Our programs serve youth all across the state and even beyond state borders. 

Current Focus

What is THMS’s new mission and vision all about? 

Our new mission and vision focuses on optimal health outcomes for youth and their communities across the state of MS and beyond.  We believe that positive health outcomes begins with a focus on the social, emotional, physical, sexual, and mental health needs of youth.  We also believe that when youth have access to resources and information to protect themselves, entire communities benefit.  

Does that mean you won’t focus on sex education and youth-friendly healthcare anymore?

Sex education and youth-friendly healthcare will always be part of the foundation of Teen Health Mississippi. In fact, part of our new focus allows us to extend sex education beyond the classroom and focus also on community level strategies and approaches to reach underserved youth. Similarly, we will also examine implicit bias that negatively impacts minority youth health outcomes! Ensuring the overall wellness of all young people requires us to look beyond just SRH and youth-friendly healthcare. We must look at  the overall picture—their physical, emotional, mental, reproductive, and relational health—if we want healthy youth and whole communities.


How is Teen Health Mississippi funded? Teen Health Mississippi is a 501c3 nonprofit organization registered with the Mississippi Secretary of State. We receive funding from grants, foundations, earned revenue through our trainings and contract work, and individual donations. We complete an annual financial audit at the end of our fiscal year. Our fiscal year runs from July 1-June 30. If you are interested in supporting our work, email contact@teenhealthms.org. See our financial reports at teenhealthms.org/about/history.

Sex Education and Youth-Friendly Healthcare

Why focus on sex education in Mississippi?

We believe all young people in Mississippi deserve access to high-quality sex education and youth-friendly healthcare to attain their highest level of health. We believe our low health outcomes are a direct result of information and resources not being given to communities that need it most. Our state ranks 1st in teen birth rates, 3rd in gonorrhea infections, and our state capitol, Jackson, has the 4th highest HIV infection rate among metropolitan areas in the nation. The truth of the matter is good sex education and access to youth-friendly healthcare in the state of Mississippi is truly a matter of “life and health.” We are dedicated to improving outcomes for youth in our state.

What does it mean to be youth-friendly?

Youth-friendly (whether in healthcare or other locales) means the resources are accessible to all young people, and the services meet youth expectations and needs and improve equitable health outcomes. Youth oftentimes face barriers when accessing healthcare, including lack of confidentiality when entering health spaces, high cost of medical care, and transportation. THMS is currently working to improve healthcare for youth across the state of MS.  

What’s the difference between abstinence-only and abstinence plus sex education? 

Abstinence-only sex education focuses solely on abstinence until marriage as a way to prevent unplanned pregnancy and STI transmission. Abstinence-plus sex education emphasizes abstinence, but also teaches youth about options to prevent unintended pregnancies and STI transmission by discussing contraceptive options, refusal skills, and open communication. Teen Health Mississippi works with Mississippi school districts to implement  curricula that are abstinence-plus.


Do you partner with youth directly?

We work with teens in a variety of capacities. Youth serve on our board of directors, drive our programming, and act as advisers when developing new trainings and resources. Specifically, our Mississippi Youth Council provides trainings and house meetings to youth around the state. We also host an annual Mississippi Youth Summit that is open to young people across the state to learn more about advocacy in their community. We are an organization dedicated to partnering with youth. We employ a 360-degree model, part of which is a youth-adult partnership. We believe that when youth and adults work together, they can drive communities forward.

I am a young person, and I am interested in Teen Health Mississippi. How can I get involved?

Youth engagement is a number one priority for Teen Health Mississippi. There are many different ways that youth can be involved in our work. If you are interested in getting involved, contact Mariaha Amos at mariaha@teenhealthms.org. 

Are we compensated for our work?

Are we compensated for our work? We believe that truly partnering with youth means we’re providing them compensation for their time, effort, and expertise. Youth have
knowledge and expertise that is unique. We value their input and their commitment to our work, and by providing financial compensation, we set a standard of excellence for just treatment of youth and
young adults.


How much do trainings cost? Are trainings free?

Teen Heath Mississippi offers a variety of trainings that are geared toward youth-serving adults. This includes parents, clergy, teachers, healthcare providers, and community organizers. Many times we offer trainings in partnership with other organizations and the trainings can be free of charge. We are also available for hire if you are looking for a specific training you want to provide. If you are interested in hosting a training or attending a training, contact Patrina Williams, our Director of Education & Training, at patrina@teenhealthms.org.