Let’s Talk About Sex(ual Health)

This September, we’re celebrating healthy youth and whole communities through Sexual Health Awareness Month. Learn how to take charge of your sexual health this month through these resources.

Sexual Health Resources

Choose Your Method: This tool allows you to choose a contraceptive option that works for you. Users who use this tool can sort through method cards, filtering them based on what they’re looking for in a contraceptive method. Options include preventing pregnancy, preventing STDs and STIs, over-the-counter methods, and ones that can provide painful period relief. The site also has emojis to filter for those with penises and vaginas, and for anal and oral sex. The resulting method cards show options that meet the criteria of the user.

Nourishing Bonds: The Power of Breastfeeding/Chestfeeding

By Triuna Taylor

Breastfeeding/chestfeeding is a timeless act that enhances the natural connection that occurs between mothers/birthing people and babies. It is a unique experience that creates a strong bond between a person and their child. During Breastfeeding Awareness Month, join us as we delve into the wonders of breastfeeding/chestfeeding.

Mississippi Lawmakers Delete Repealer on State Sex Ed Law

During the 2023 legislative session, Mississippi lawmakers passed a bill that takes the expiration date off the state’s current sex ed law.

The law, originally passed as House Bill 999 in 2011, says that public school districts in Mississippi are required to implement sex education. The law requires each public school district in the state to choose between an “abstinence-only” or “abstinence-plus” sex ed policy and a corresponding sex ed curriculum approved by the Mississippi Department of Education. The law has been reauthorized twice since originally passing (during the 2016 and 2021 legislative sessions).

All About the FDA-Approved OTC Birth Control Pill

Ever since the birth control pill first came onto the market in the 1970s, women and girls have had to get a prescription from their doctor. For those in under-resourced and underfunded communities, this can present a challenge. Women in those areas are less likely to have access to effective birth control methods than those in other communities, and Mississippi has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the U.S.

However, a drug approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will make accessing contraception easier. In July 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Opill, an over-the-counter method of birth control that will soon be sold online and in stores.

Minority Mental Health Awareness Month: How You Can Help

“Man up! Boys don’t cry!”

 “Wipe your face. You’re a strong black woman. You’ll be fine.”

“Stop acting bipolar.”

“There’s nothing wrong with you. You just want attention.”

“People are gonna think you’re loco/crazy if you keep acting like that.”

Have you ever found yourself saying or hearing any of the above phrases or something similar? These are all phrases that cause stigma around mental health. July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. This month Teen Health Mississippi wants to highlight ways to combat mental health stigma and bring awareness to mental health services and resources.

THMS to Host 2023 MYSummit June 8-11, 2023

On June 8-11, 2023, young people from across Mississippi and the southeast US will gather in Raymond, MS to build skills to help them lead change in their communities.

Hosted by Teen Health Mississippi and our partners, the Mobilizing Youth Summit (MYSummit) provides young people with an opportunity to increase awareness around issues affecting youth in their communities. Young people will collaborate with other youth advocates, local and state leaders, entrepreneurs, policy experts, and social activists to identify paths to move Mississippi forward, especially as it relates to advocating for change, organizing, mobilizing efforts, and lobbying policymakers. Attendees will participate in immersive workshops, thought-provoking roundtables, and inspiring keynotes, all while building their network of fellow changemakers who are working toward change in their local communities.

Supporting and Equipping Youth and Their Communities for National Adolescent Health Month

In addition to May being Sex Ed for All Month, it is also National Adolescent Health Month. This year, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Population Affairs (OPA) has outlined four themes:

  • Expand sexual and reproductive health information and services.
  • Promote self-care to support mental health.
  • Celebrate ways that communities support youth.
  • Equip adults to support adolescent health.

Here’s how Teen Health Mississippi (THMS) can help your organization with these themes for every month of the year.

While We Wait for Better Sex Ed, We Work

May is Sex Ed for All Month. In Mississippi, however, not all youth are provided with the sex education they need and deserve. Mississippi needs more comprehensive sex education. In 2011, the Mississippi Legislature passed House Bill 999, which requires public schools to adopt and implement an abstinence-based sex ed policy and curriculum. Twelve years later, this law has not changed. We are still waiting for Mississippi to move toward comprehensive sex education. And while we wait, we work. We invite you to do the work with us.

Training With Teen Health Mississippi

Teen Health Mississippi is a nonprofit that seeks to improve young people’s access to high-quality sex education and youth-friendly healthcare. One way we accomplish our mission is through training trusted adults and building capacity in communities. We believe that when youth and adults work together, whole communities change. We offer training in topics like sexual health and sex education, mental health, youth-friendly healthcare, how to support LGBTQ youth, and how to work with expectant and parenting youth. Here are our training sessions.

‘Youth Are the Future’: A Conversation With a Project ME. Influencer

Our work allows us to work in partnership with many young people across Mississippi and the South. One of them is Project ME. Influencer MaKena Bailey, whom we spoke to recently about her experience working with us.

How has your experience been with Project ME. been so far?

It’s been fun. It gives me a chance to work on my social media skills, like editing video and public speaking. It doesn’t feel like a school project.

What is one issue that you are excited to work on with the ME. project?

The thing that I like that we talk about most is probably (safer) sex, red flags (in relationships), trusted adults, and what to look for in a partner (healthy relationships).