In the first of its kind, The California Endowment partnered with the U.S. Surgeon General to host a two-day Youth Mental Health Summit in Los Angeles on June 14 and 15.
Youth Mental Wellness Now, held in downtown’s fashion district, was a convening of youth organizations and advocates from throughout the state focused on creating a national movement around the mental health crisis among young people.
Dr. Robert K. Ross, CEO of TCE, said the event was inspired by the national advisory on the mental health crisis which was issued by Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy in late December.
“We wanted young people to take center stage,” Ross said, and that future strategies in regards to mental health for young people “would be informed with young people as the experts… and having important and key adult allies more as listeners than talkers.”
Murthy held a discussion with youth, to hear from young people themselves about the problems they are facings and what can be done to help. He said it was important to have input from young people and that “it matters who is at the table if you want to create change,”
The summit also featured actors and activists including Kendrick Sampson, best known for his roles in “Insecure” and “The Vampire Diaries,” as well as Jordyn Woods, model and actress. Governor Newsom filmed a message to the conference and has committed funds based on findings from the summer.
Murthy listened to young people’s concerns and stressed the importance of building community and creating safe spaces. Breakout sessions focused on wellbeing through storytelling, overcoming mental health challenges, and resources for youth wellness in schools.
Murthy stressed that while the summit is a step forward he hopes it “sparks a movement that would last for years and make sure that every youth that needs help gets the help they need.”
In closing, he said what gives him hope is everyone at the conference. “You showed up. You shared with courage. There’s work to be done and we are the ones to do it. “
The second day of the summit focused on California issues and featured California Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Bhushan, and director of California Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative Melissa Stafford Jones. Afternoon programming consisted of creating strategies, partnerships and the exchange of intergenerational ideas.
Other organizations partnering with The California Endowment to host the event include The Steve Fund, California Children’s Trust, Youth Organize! California, YR Media and Revolve Impact.