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County Advisory Boards to Host Virtual Forum on Youth Mental Health and Substance Misuse in Montgomery County on Thursday, May 19

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Three County Advisory Boards have joined forces to host, "Break the Taboo," a forum on Youth Mental Health and Substance Use, from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, May 19. The forum, designed for youth, parents, and guardians, will highlight signs of youth mental health and substance use concerns and where to find resources in the community. The event is the result of a collaboration between the Montgomery County Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Advisory Council, Mental Health Advisory Council, and Citizen’s Review Panel for Children.

“It is now more important than ever for Montgomery County to hold an event focused on youth mental health and substance misuse,” said Celia Serkin, member of the May 19 Forum Planning Committee. “The COVID-19 pandemic has had serious negative impacts on the mental health and psychological wellbeing of children, youth, and young adults and their families, particularly for groups at-risk of new or exacerbated mental health and substance misuse challenges and those facing barriers to accessing care. The COVID-19 crisis has turned into a mental health and substance misuse crisis for young people. During the youth panel, young people will help us understand their needs and challenges and what has or has not worked for them.”

The virtual forum will include youth programming planned by members of the Youth Ambassador Program, and separate programming for parents, guardians, and those who work with or care for youth. Youth will participate in youth-led sessions, learn about substance use/mental health warning signs, coping skills, and ways to help, and earn Student Service Learning hours for participating.

Parents, providers, and community members will hear from the Center for Anxiety and Behavioral Change and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration on ways to support youth and learn how the Surgeon General's Call to Action on Youth Mental Health is being implemented.

All attendees will hear firsthand about youth mental health and substance use experiences during the panel discussion and question and answer session  facilitated by Dr. Rolando Santiago, Chief of Behavioral Health and Crisis Services for the County’s Department of Health and Human Services. The evening will conclude with a virtual resource fair, during which attendees can speak directly with representatives from local organizations.

For more information on how to participate in the forum and to register, please click here. If you have any accessibility needs to attend this event (e.g., an interpreter for ASL, Spanish, Chinese, Amharic, or another language), please e-mail Diane Lininger by May 15 to request accommodations:

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Release ID: 22-273
Media Contact: Warren Hansen
Categories: Health