LEWISTON — Feysal Abdirahman, a member of the Lewiston Youth Advisory Council, overheard a peer say one thing just lately that caught with him: “I cried right now and no one knew.”
The assertion and others prefer it turned a part of planning discussions by this 12 months’s youth council that led to a bigger concentrate on psychological well being consciousness.
The council, made up of Lewiston highschool college students, will host a group dialog on psychological well being Dec. 8, that includes audio system from Tri-County Psychological Well being Companies and extra.
The discussion board, known as Be Sort To Your Thoughts, will happen at 6 p.m. at Connors Elementary College and is free to attend.
A number of research have proven that the pandemic specifically accelerated a youth psychological well being disaster that was already constructing.
In accordance with the CDC, in 2021 greater than a 3rd of highschool college students reported they skilled poor psychological well being in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 44% reported they persistently felt unhappy or hopeless in the course of the previous 12 months.
In September, the newly-assembled youth council determined their subsequent mission would concentrate on psychological well being consciousness, involved about friends and group members they’ve noticed “emotionally hurting.”
“The youth council believes that creating this open dialog will give everybody the chance to be concerned and be heard,” council Chairperson Elissa Nadeau stated.
“You’re not alone, even for those who inform your self you’re,” council member Asli Osman stated.
The trouble has already been underway throughout the varsity district. As a part of the mission, Superintendent Jake Langlais has been tweeting out constructive affirmations each morning.
A latest one stated, “Simply because it’s taking time, doesn’t imply it’s not taking place.”
A information launch from Dot Perham-Whittier, group relations coordinator and youth council adviser, stated audio system will embody Colin O’Neill, chief medical officer at Tri-County Psychological Well being Companies; Amran Osman, government director/founding father of Generational Noor; Lisa Escobar, substance use coordinator and licensed counselor at Lewiston Public Colleges; Megan Parks, a social employee and substance use counselor; Lewiston Police Detective Joe Philippon; and youth council Vice Chairperson Ava Golder.
Golder has additionally filmed a social media video sharing her ideas about psychological well being challenges.
“The truth that youth council members are stepping as much as make constructive connections relating to psychological well being consciousness is big,” Mayor Carl Sheline stated. “Not solely are they in tune with group wants, however they’re taking motion. Their instance is one thing that we are able to all study from and emulate.”
“You don’t need to wrestle in silence,” youth council member Destiney Graham stated.
This isn’t the primary time the youth council has highlighted the difficulty. Throughout the pandemic, it partnered with Wholesome Androscoggin on a photograph collection known as “A Mild within the Darkish.” It will definitely obtained its personal exhibit on downtown Lisbon Road.
Perham-Whittier stated this week that constructing consciousness about psychological well being is “clearly essential to the present LYAC membership.”
“It’s spectacular to watch them brainstorm about group outreach and specific real concern about fellow group members. They need (the) discussion board to supply encouragement and hope to others,” she stated.
Linda Scott, a metropolis councilor who serves because the council consultant to the College Committee, has additionally served as a liaison between the Metropolis Council and youth council.
She stated when youngsters are scuffling with melancholy, nervousness or psychological well being points, “it’s virtually unattainable to realize objectives and navigate the challenges of on a regular basis faculty life.”
“The significance of psychological well being for college kids has a direct impression on how our youngsters absorb new data, perceive new ideas and grasp new abilities,” she stated. “We as adults and fogeys ought to at all times have the psychological well being of our youngsters as a precedence, and when our personal youth take the lead on this topic, we should always assist them in any means that we are able to.”
Additionally on the discussion board can be psychological well being sources, a query and reply interval, associated paintings, and “wall-size post-its,” offering a chance for attendees to share emotions when getting into and exiting the discussion board.
Youth councilors stated in addition they wish to unfold the theme of hope. Member Ahmed Hussein quoted Confucius: “Our biggest glory shouldn’t be in by no means falling, however in rising each time we fall.”