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ReachOut News


ReachOut Just Got Even Better!

by RO_Meredith

This spring, we’re excited to share some BIG news:

Inspire USA Foundation is now ReachOut USA!

After five years of growing the ReachOut brand as a website, online community, and passionate youth volunteer corps, we’re changing our name to better encompass the heart and spirit of our organization.

As ReachOut USA, we will continue to provide safe and accessible spaces for teens and young adults to find peer support and get critical mental health questions answered. With new leadership and additional partners, we will also explore more pathways to combine our innovative interventions with the latest technologies.

Our goal for 2015 is to connect with more young people than ever before, and empower more young people to connect with each other. With 1 in 5 young Americans experiencing a mental health difficulty, and nearly 50 percent not seeking treatment when they need it, nonjudgmental support is more important than ever before.

That’s why our Mental Health Awareness campaign for May 2015 encourages youth to say four powerful words that let the people in their life know they care: Reach Out 2 Me

From May 11 to May 17, we will share real stories of support from our forums, celebrate the power of small gestures with tagged posts, and invite your help in funding our vision.

Follow ReachOut USA on Facebook for more details and look for the #RO2Me hashtag all month long.

 

ReachOut Launches Speakers Bureau!

by RO_Meredith

Speakers BureauMoved by requests from schools and communities looking for youth to discuss mental health topics and break down the stigma around these issues, we're thrilled to announce the launch of the ReachOut Speakers Bureau*! Sponsored by the Each Mind Matters mini-grant initiative, ReachOut has trained a selection of youth volunteers passionate about mental health advocacy in California.

Available for speaking engagements for both youth and youth advocates, members of our speakers bureau have already delivered compelling presentations for audiences at the San Mateo Youth Conference and the 7th International Together Against Stigma conference in San Francisco.

If you have an upcoming school or community event that could use a youth voice keyed into the challenges of growing up today, check out the brief profiles of our speakers below and contact Michael Young, Youth Programs Manager to coordinate an appearance.

Daniel

Daniel Robert Caldera Jr. is a research assistant and student at Pitzer College, part of the Claremont Consortium, studying Linguistics & Cognitive Science and expresses his lived experience with mental health challenges through writing and community engagement.

Mackenzie

Mackenzie Ellsworth is a jewelry designer and student at University of San Francisco studying Entrepreneurship and Innovation/Environmental Studies, and expresses her lived experience with depression through writing and design.

Emily

Emily Pham is currently an undergraduate student attending San Francisco State University studying Psychology and Counseling. Emily aspires to become a school counselor and voice-over artist in the future. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to music, singing, dancing, exercising, voice acting and writing.

Estephani

Estephani Alanis is a Mental Health Advocate in Orange County California. Estephani is a Southern California Team Lead for Each Mind Matters Change Agents and is currently studying Behavioral Science at MiraCosta College in Oceanside, CA. She expresses efforts to reduce stigma and discrimination through Crisis Intervention Traning for Law Enforcement.

Kaila

Kaila Tang is a passionate advocate for cultural-competency and ethnic minority mental health who has struggled with major depression and other related stressors that have resulted in her interest in counseling and trauma work with women of color. Spreading awareness in regards to equal rights and treatment for under-represented and under-served populations has become very important to her.

Haley

Haley Adams is high school student in Redwood, CA who volunteers as a ReachOutHere Peer Supporter. She is passionate about helping her peers get through tough times and combatting the stigma surrounding mental health.

Jessica

Jessica Van Tuinen is a student at Modesto Junior College and works at Juvenile Justice where she oversees the youth leadership program, Youth In Mind, and mentors young adults who have recently been released from Juvenile Hall. As well, she is a CAYEN (California Youth Empowerment Network) board member. Her personal experience with anxiety has inspired her to help as many young people as she can.

 

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*This program is funded by counties through the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63). It is one of several Prevention and Early Intervention Initiatives implemented by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), an organization of California counties working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities. CalMHSA encourages the use of materials contained herein, as they are explained in our licensing agreements. To view the agreements, please visit: calmhsa.org

Leadership Transition at Inspire USA

by RO_Meredith

On 2 March 2015, Inspire USA Foundation Chairman Lance Descourouez announced a transition in leadership from Michael Pelfini, Ed.D. to Nicola Survanshi, MPH and welcomed John Foong and Nupur Kumaraswami to the Inspire USA Board.

After one year of impressive leadership as CEO, Michael Pelfini, Ed.D. will be stepping down from the CEO role at Inspire USA. The Inspire USA board thanks Mike for his valuable contribution coming to the role at a challenging time for the organization.  Mike put in place a sound strategy, consolidated the team and laid a solid foundation for future growth.

The Inspire USA Board has promoted Nicola Survanshi to the new position of Executive Director and brought additional resources to the fundraising effort with two new members joining the Inspire USA board.

As Director for Programs and Operations for more than two years, Nicola has played a key leadership role at Inspire USA. Soon after joining Inspire USA, Nicola was invited to attend President Obama’s White House Summit on Mental Health. More recently, Nicola chaired the Youth Plenary session at the 7th International Together Against Stigma conference in San Francisco hosted by the World Psychiatric Association, CalMHSA and CIBHS. In light of Nicola’s outstanding performance to date, her strong rapport with young people and her impressive knowledge in mental health and technology, the board had no hesitation in asking Nicola to lead the organization at this time.

A graduate of Emory University, Nicola began her professional career in the U.S. Air Force as an Intelligence Officer, stationed at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii. She later realized her passion for public health and enrolled at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, graduating with an MPH in 2012.  During her time at Columbia, Nicola developed the communications strategy for Ascel Bio, a disease forecasting start-up. She also joined a research project under the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar program, investigating the use of text messaging in community empowerment and health. Discoveries from this research led to her thesis on the role of text messaging in mental health literacy and help-seeking in adolescents.

Inspire USA also welcomes John Foong and Nupur Kumaraswami to the Board of Directors.

John has worked for Google for eight years in London, Dublin and now Mountain View as a Global Director for Strategic Partnerships. After starting his career as a consultant at McKinsey & Co in Australia, he worked for USAID in Mozambique. John holds a First Class Honors degree in Information Systems and Management from the University of New South Wales and a Master of Arts (Education Reform) and an MBA from Stanford University where he was voted President of his MBA year.

Nupur Kumaraswami, a Chartered Accountant from India and a financial planner from Singapore, has recently moved to California.  After working as a Director in one of the largest Text Book Distribution Companies in India, Nupur was the CFO of a startup magazine in Singapore. She then studied financial planning and worked with a leading financial planner (IPP Financial Planners Pte Ltd) in Singapore.

She has also volunteered with CRY (Child Rights and You) in India to help raise money for projects and The Global Village Project in Decatur, Georgia where she helped middle school girls in English and Math.

The Inspire USA Foundation is a non-profit organization helping youth strengthen mental wellness through technology-driven resources and peer support. With new leadership in place, Inspire USA is well positioned to deliver even better online support and information through ReachOut.com, promoting youth mental health and preventing youth suicide.

 

In Conversation With LGBTQ Youth: New ReachOut Research and Online Content

by RO_Meredith

ReachOut recently connected with mental health professionals and LGBTQ advocates from around the world at the International Together Against Stigma conference. In a breakout panel about multiple stigmas facing lesbian, gay, transgender, and queer youth, I presented recent research from ReachOut Australia and shared our most recent LGBTQ content, developed not just for youth but also with youth.

The laws, culture and language around sexual and gender identity are changing at a dramatic pace, and in many ways youth are at the forefront of these changes. LGBTQ youth today are shifting the categories of identity, and the language and pronouns we use to talk to each other. They are finding their way in schools and institutions that are rapidly evolving their policies around bullying and acceptance. They are crafting new conversations around coming out, that speak to the vastly different experiences of talking with peers, parents, teachers, siblings, grandparents, and others, who can have a wide range of reactions to learning that a someone they know identifies as LGBTQ.

In order to harness the perspective and insight of youth, ReachOut started our content development process by recruiting young adults from all over California – a rainbow of locations, ethnicities, sexual and gender identities, and personalities. We asked them to look at the LGBTQ content that’s already out there online, on ReachOut and other sites aimed at youth and LGBTQ individuals, and tell us what’s missing and what’s out of date. We then worked with the youth, with help from the GSA Network and CalMHSA, who generously funded this program*, to put their ideas and needs into words. The result is a collection of deeply honest, personal, and informative stories and fact sheets that address the real concerns of LGBTQ youth today.

by Ann Marie Dobosz, MFT, Mental Health Specialist

*This program is funded by counties through the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63). It is one of several Prevention and Early Intervention Initiatives implemented by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), an organization of California counties working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities. CalMHSA encourages the use of materials contained herein, as they are explained in our licensing agreements. To view the agreements, please visit: calmhsa.org

ReachOutHere Forums Expands Peer Supporters

by RO_Meredith

At the end of last month, the ReachOutHere Forums* expanded its corps of peer supporters with 10 recruits culled from the ReachOut TXT* program. With the support of CalMHSA and the continued dedication of youth volunteers, the forums have continued to grow with over 3,200 members in California and more than 16,500 members nationwide. Additional support from the newest cohort of peer supporters, who received supplemental training around providing empathetic support to teens and young adults struggling with mental health issues, will further enhance the safe and supportive online community.

*This program is funded by counties through the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63). It is one of several Prevention and Early Intervention Initiatives implemented by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), an organization of California counties working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities. CalMHSA encourages the use of materials contained herein, as they are explained in our licensing agreements. To view the agreements, please visit: calmhsa.org

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