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Youth Mental Health Academy Pilot Program an Overwhelming Success!

August 11, 2023

In an effort to address the nationwide shortage of diverse mental health clinicians, the Child Mind Institute has partnered with the state of California to create the Youth Mental Health Academy (YMHA). This innovative program will provide 2,500 California high school students from underserved communities, including BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ teens,  with mental health career development, including project-based learning, paid summer internships, and mentorship.

Youth Mental Health Acadmey students

The program, developed for the California Department of Health Care Access and Information, as part of the California Child and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative, launched this year with a pilot program in the greater Los Angeles area. Plans are to expand throughout the state of California next summer.

In June, over 160 high school students, plus mentors, instructors and support staff, convened at four locations around Los Angeles. For five weeks, the students participated in an intensive learning experience and developed innovative projects. On July 22 we hosted an inaugural capstone event in which each group presented their work. Nearly 400 students, family members, mentors, and program staff attended to celebrate this first cohort’s accomplishments! 

A Youth Mental Health Academy student presents their work at the innagural capstone event

We are grateful to and proud of these students, whose work was nothing short of inspiring. They represented their unique perspectives and ideas through creative mediums such as paintings, poetry, podcasts, children’s books, and 3D-printed models. Seeing their dedication gives us hope for the future of child and adolescent mental health.  

Now EdSurge, a digital magazine about education, has published an article about the Youth Mental Health Academy. The article goes beyond what kids did in the program to tackle head-on the subject of why such a program is needed.

Read the full article to gain a better understanding of how and why the Youth Mental Health Academy seeks to change the landscape of mental health care.

About YMHA

What is the Youth Mental Health Academy?

The Youth Mental Health Academy (YMHA) is providing community-based career development to rising high school juniors and seniors from structurally marginalized communities, through paid project-based learning and paid summer internships.

Learn More

How was the Youth Mental Health Academy started?

The state of California and its leaders are committed to improving access to mental health care for all Californians and recognize that a shortage of diverse healthcare providers presents a significant barrier to achieving that goal. That’s why they are committed to bringing this program to structurally marginalized communities such as BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ youth. Together with experts from the Child Mind Institute they’re taking steps to cultivate tomorrow’s diverse mental health leaders.

The Child Mind Institute is the leading independent nonprofit in children’s mental health. They have convened a team of experts to design and implement Youth Mental Health Academy activities.

Our Team

Our leadership team brings together a diverse group of professionals to provide the Youth Mental Health Academy’s uniquely comprehensive services.

Meet Our Team

Tagged with: Child Mind Institute News, Science Programs
Marijayne Bushey
Mj Bushey is a research marketing specialist at the Child Mind Institute.  Her outreach efforts inform families that participation can … Read Bio