“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.
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.
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.
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.
Mississippi First recently received a $3,072,999.75 5-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Reproductive Health for the Focused Pregnancy Prevention for Mississippi Teens (Focus4Teens) project. Focus4Teens will develop the capacity of health center partners through a comprehensive training and technical assistance program to provide youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services and increase the number of youth accessing and receiving these services by working with youth-serving partners. Referral systems will be developed to link vulnerable youth to care and to increase awareness of health services in the community. Mississippi First will be working with partners in Coahoma County, Quitman County, and Tunica County.