Mental Health: YWI Mini Grant

Written and informed by the Young Women’s Advisory Council 2017-2018

We are the Mental Health Task Force, a subgroup of the Young Women’s Advisory Council. The Mental Health Task Force aims to raise awareness about mental illness to young women of color and reduce stigma about getting help. As young female students in the school system, we have seen firsthand that mental illness is a pressing issue in schools, and we are aiming to promote mental health and reduce stigma for young women of color.

Problem Statement

Young women of color in Springfield, Massachusetts are not getting enough attention, education and resources about mental illness. Women experience more mental health problems than men. According to the Public Health Study of Western Massachusetts, 20% more women feel sad or hopeless. According to interviewed psychologists, women tend to express themselves more emotionally, while boys express themselves through anger. Based on our collective experience, the school system lacks enough qualified counselors to support the mental stability of the student body. The school system focuses more on academics rather than the health of a student. Only 34% of students reach out to their school psychologists/ counselors, according to the Public Health Study of Western Massachusetts. Young people should be at a point where they feel more comfortable reaching out to adults within their school community. We seek to partner with organizations that are aiming to support young women of color and their mental health.

Goals

  • Our goal is to have the stigma around mental health diminish.
  • Our group wants young women, women of color specifically in Springfield to seek and receive the help that they feel they need. Our group also wants for the rate of depression, anxiety, and other mental conditions within young women, specifically young women of color to go down.
  • Our group desires to have a future where young women of color are more willing to be more open about their problems in the school environment with trained counselors that are willing to help and know their experience. We want the youth to be open about their problems so that they can receive help and know they are not alone in this battle against their mental condition.

Looking for

  • Our mental health group is looking for an organization that is not afraid to talk about mental illness. We need an organization that has experience working with mental conditions and that is sympathetic towards all people. The organization must also identify stigma surrounding mental health and must be willing to help dismantle the stigma so that young women, especially young women of color, are more willing to come forward and speak up about their problems. Then, they can receive help.

Eligibility

  • A Massachusetts organization specifying in the Springfield and Western Mass region
  • A group that is dedicated to supporting the mental health of young women of color
  • A group that is targeting this issue primarily through the school systems

Click the link to apply for a Mental Health mini-grant(The link takes you to a Google Doc. You will not receive a receipt after submitting.)

All applications are due by May 21, 2018

If you have any questions, contact cmonska@mywomensfund.org