THMS Response to COVID-19

Photo by CDC on

On Saturday, March 14, 2020, Governor Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency for the state of Mississippi regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  We are uncertain of the impact this virus will have on our communities in the long run, but are certain that this pandemic has immediate impacts on the health, economics, and mental and psycho-social well-being of the communities we serve.

Teen Health Mississippi is especially concerned about the safety and well-being of our staff, youth, communities, and partners that we counter across the state of Mississippi and beyond. At the same time, THMS is committed more than ever to our mission of ensuring youth have access to high-quality sex education and youth-friendly healthcare services.

Title X Gag Rule: What It Means for Mississippi Youth

The Title X Family Planning Program is a federal grant program that provides family planning and preventive healthcare, like breast and cervical cancer screenings, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, birth control, and pregnancy services. In February 2019, the Trump Administration announced a Title X Gag Rule that has concerning implications on the program.

Prep Talk for the Sex Talk

by Fibiana Oladipo

I wondered how to start this blog for the past few days. It is weird in the sense that I am trying to educate readers about a predicament that is common for many people. Still, I am oblivious to a topic like this simply because I have no expertise in an area as gripping as discussing sex. However, I can share with you what I would do if I wanted to talk to my parents about sexual health.

What It Means to Be a Teen LGBT Ally—And How You Can Be One, Too

Photo by Jiroe on Unsplash

by Leslyn Smith

All it takes is a little love and support to protect the lives of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth. LGBT+ youth are three times more likely than straight kids to attempt suicide at some point in their lives.

Merriam-Webster defines an ally as one that is associated with another as a helper; a person or group that provides assistance and support in an ongoing effort, activity, or struggle. In simpler terms, an ally is someone on your side and has your back. An ally doesn’t have to share your same experience, but they can still be supportive of your plight.

Three Stigmas about Contraceptives that You Should Cancel in 2020

Photo by Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition on Unsplash

by Kimberly Travis

Contraceptive use is not a sign of a man’s masculinity or a woman’s promiscuity. However, contraceptives are still taboo topics in the 21st century, especially in Mississippi. Growing up in Yazoo City, Mississippi, I learned many stigmas about what girls should and should not do, but there were a few things that I had to cancel, and in 2020, I hope you will, too.

A Year of Impact: 2019 Annual Report

This year might have been our first as a standalone nonprofit, but Teen Health Mississippi hit the ground running—literally. We traveled more than 20,000 miles to conferences, events, and 130+ trainings. Our team also continued to develop programs that cross areas such as capacity building, parent trainings, and youth-friendly healthcare, plus we awarded five subgrantees to a youth council and youth-serving organizations across the state.

And that’s not all! We invite you to read the full 2019 Annual Report to see how Teen Health Mississippi is championing teens and adults who want to improve sexual health education, training, and policy.

If You Wanna Be My Lover, You Gotta Have My Consent

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

by Kelly Bates

Sex isn’t sexy without consent. Recent movements like #MeToo and #ItStopsNow advocate for consent strongly, but what does consent look like,  and what part do you play? Sexual consent is quite simple: It is when two people mutually agree to participate in some form of sex without outside influence. That agreement can look different to different people, but consent is expressed affirmatively through clear words or actions. An enthusiastic “Yes!,” or the lack thereof, is the best way to tell whether or not an act is consensual.

Durant Mayor’s Youth Council receives Spark Youth Grant from Teen Health Mississippi

Jackson, MS—Young people in Mississippi are being empowered with the education, the skills, and now the funds to improve the health of their peers and affect the greater community.  Teen Health Mississippi (THMS), a state-wide, youth-focused organization addressing the sexual and mental health of teens and young adults across the state has introduced a mini-grant program for youth starting in 2019.  

The inaugural Spark Youth Grant has been developed through a partnership with Advocates for Youth.  The purpose of the award is to help an individual or group develop an idea that addresses unique challenges that impact the youth in their communities.  Selected awardees will have three months to complete their projects, and they will receive technical assistance from Teen Health Mississippi throughout the planning and implementation of their idea.  

Teens are Major Partners with Teen Health Mississippi in Social Media Driven Health Effort

         Meet Team ME.  (from left) Dr. Angie, Adrian, Jay, Jazzy, and Maria.  Not pictured is “Big Bro” who appears occasionally via cell phone while enrolled at JSU.

Jackson, MS—Mississippi teens are a major partner with Teen Health Mississippi in a social media awareness campaign that connects Mississippi youth to high-quality and youth-friendly mental and sexual-reproductive health resources.  Teen Health Mississippi, in partnership with Power to Decide, recently launched Project Mind Elevation.

Project ME. has introduced six youthful, animated personas, vetted and approved by teens state-wide, who are “interacting” on popular social media channels.  As the ME. teens experience the same struggles as their real-life friends, they will recommend and provide information about resources and services available to youth across the state.   The lives of the ME. teens can be followed on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat under the username “MS.TeamMe”.