THMS Celebrates Community Health Center Week 2022

by Whitney French

This week, Teen Health Mississippi (THMS) is celebrating  Community Health Center Week 2022.  Every year during the first full week of August, community health centers (CHCs) around the country promote and celebrate their work with various activities. This year’s national theme is “The Chemistry for Strong Communities”. The daily celebrations are as follows: 

  • Sunday – Public Health in Housing
  • Monday – Healthcare for the Homeless
  • Tuesday – Agricultural Worker Health
  • Wednesday – Patient Appreciation
  • Thursday – Stakeholder Appreciation
  • Friday – Health Center Staff Appreciation
  • Saturday – Children’s Health

As a former community health center social worker, I am excited about the awareness this week brings to community health centers and the work they do.  One myth that I would like to dispel is that community health centers are “free clinics” that are only for persons who are living in poverty.  In fact, community health centers accept most major insurances along with Medicaid and Medicare.  They offer sliding fee scales to make healthcare more affordable for community members who do not have health insurance.  The wonderful thing about many community health centers is that they serve as a one-stop-shop for healthcare.  A person can receive primary care services, dietician consultations, dental treatment, vision services, medication assistance, and so much more.  Many of the medical providers and clinical staff are local residents and are dedicated to their work and the community they serve.  

Teen Health Mississippi takes pleasure in working with community health centers.  For five years, we partnered with a CHC to raise awareness in communities about services available to teens and assisted with making youth-friendly healthcare services and contraceptive options more accessible.  We have also made presentations to the Community Health Center Association of Mississippi. Our LinkedUp project works with school-based health center sites of CHCs to ensure young people are aware of their healthcare options beyond high school.  THMS has even worked with a CHC system to help them choose a reputable sex-ed curriculum that worked best for their community-based afterschool program.  We also offer a Youth-friendly Healthcare training series that all community health centers are welcome and encouraged to complete.  

This week, take a moment to check out a community health center near you.

For more information on how your CHC can partner with THMS to increase access to youth-friendly healthcare, contact Whitney French, Director of Healthcare and Community Engagement at whitney@teenhealthms.org.

Working With LGBTQ Youth: Tips for Creating Better Outcomes

Hand holding a heart painted with the colors of the LGBTQ flag

Everyone deserves to feel safe, included and respected. But those with experience working with LGBTQ youth know all too well how often youth identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning are stereotyped, overlooked, or otherwise let down by those they should be able to trust.

How to Support Young Parents and Expectant Youth

A young mother holding her child in the snow

To support young parents and expectant youth as a professional, it’s important to listen and understand. Expectant and parenting youth are often pulled in multiple directions, balancing school, work and home lives with becoming a new parent, but access to helpful resources and information along with positive relationships with trusted adults can help them thrive.

THMS Developing Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program for Youth in Justice System

Teen Health Mississippi (THMS) is working with The Policy & Research Group (PRG) to develop a new teen pregnancy prevention program for youth involved in the criminal justice system.

The project aims to use Social Network Theory and motivational interviewing to help youth in the justice system to increase awareness of their social networks and how their networks influence their behavior, specifically when it comes to sexual behaviors.

Teen Health Mississippi is currently working on a prototype that will help participating youth think through their social networks and goals for their future.

“I am excited that we are getting close to being able to put our intervention in front of young people. I think that the fact that we’re looking at them as a whole person and not their offenses will make a great difference,” Teen Health Mississippi Director of Healthcare and Community Engagement Whitney French says. “Hopefully their time in the intervention will give them some positive decision making skills as well as a strong support system to help them reach their goals.”

Learn more about the project at the button below.

Read More

Reflecting on 2021 and Continuing the Race for Youth Lives

Woman taking a break after running

For many families in Mississippi, 2021 brought heartaches and a range of physical and emotional challenges. Rural youth are struggling without easy access to resources on health and healthcare, including information on sexual and reproductive health, mental health, and youth-friendly healthcare.

THMS Receives Grant from Women’s Foundation of Mississippi

On December 16, 2021, the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi announced that the organization has awarded grants totaling $360,000 to 11 Mississippi-based programs, including Teen Health Mississippi (THMS). Teen Health Mississippi will use the funds for the next MYSummit. To learn more and see the press release, click here.

Let’s Talk About Sex

by Advikaa Anand

Sex is an important part of many romantic relationships–intimacy adds a feeling of closeness with your partner. While the average age of initiating sex in the US is 17, there are no hard and fast rules for this. The most important thing is to be frank and honest with your partner about your comfort level. 

Helpful Resources for Teaching Sex Education

Teaching sex education

Sex education has the power to change a young person’s life for the better, but teaching it can be a daunting and loaded responsibility for educators. If you’re new to teaching sex education or thinking about adding it to your class schedule, there are lots of resources and trainings to lean on as you get comfortable in your role.

THMS Seeking Young People for Focus Group

Teen Health Mississippi is seeking youth ages 13-24 in Phillips, Lee, Monroe, and Desha County, Arkansas, and in Coahoma County, Mississippi to participate in a September 2021 virtual focus group. This focus group will be about their healthcare experiences in those counties and should take about one hour. Selected participants will be compensated with a gift card. The focus group will take place in September 2021, date and time to be determined. For more information, email whitney@teenhealthms.org by August 31.

4 Sex Education Stats That Show We Can Do Better For Teens

When it comes to the state of sex education in Mississippi and across the country, there’s much work to be done if we want to see real results—more contraceptive use, less young people living with HIV, higher numbers of teens getting information to make informed decisions for their life and health. But how did we get here? Let’s dive into four sex education stats that help explain the limits and opportunities of sexual and reproductive health classes in our schools.