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Featured in this Newsletter

  • Youth Share Mental Health Insights Through Listening Sessions
  • Students in Pueblo Raise and Award $21,000 to Local Organizations
  • New Team Member: Welcome Rachel

Youth Share Mental Health Insights Through Listening Sessions

During Mental Health Awareness Month, we are sharing what young people told us about their mental health and well-being. As part of Caring for Colorado’s current strategic planning process, we partnered with eight youth-serving organizations to facilitate listening sessions with young people ages 10-25. The purpose was to help ensure we hear youth perspectives, including how mental health affects their daily lives.

We asked listening session participants 13 questions, including: What do you believe someone your age needs to be healthy and happy? What do you and your friends worry about most? And what are some reasons why people do not feel a sense of well-being?

Young people in Pueblo and Carbondale (below) participate in a youth listening session. 

We learned that young people see healthy relationships as foundational to a good life; this includes general supportive relationships with friends, teachers, and coaches as well as stable nurturing relationships with parents/caregivers. Youth today understand the connection between physical and mental health. They spoke a lot about the importance of sleep, sunshine, and staying active to improve their well-being. They also recognized how important after-school programs, recreation, and hobbies are while acknowledging the shared financial barriers that come with accessing these types of opportunities. 

Young people named mental health conditions like depression and anxiety as the primary negative influence on the well-being of young people in their communities. One young person shared that she and her friends wake up every morning hoping everyone made it through the night. 

The themes that emerged about why youth experience poor mental health were focused on insufficient sleep, low self-esteem, lack of healthy social networks, limited physical activity, pressure to excel in school, abuse and neglect, violence, and substance misuse by family members. They were able to speak about mental health concerns without the stigma surrounding mental health illness that older generations tend to exhibit.

When discussing social networks, young people recognize the positive and negative impacts of social media and technology on their mental health. They cite the dangers of unrealistic expectations, the effect of social media algorithms, and the temptation to prioritize technology over getting enough sleep. In contrast, they spoke about the importance of social media to their sense of connectedness and belonging. One teen shared that they want adults to help set boundaries with social media and technology, but that it is frustrating and unhelpful when adults blame all their problems on their phones.

Young people highlighted the importance of preventive strategies and healthy coping mechanisms to improve someone’s mental health. This includes self-care such as creating art, practicing affirmations, driving around, and listening to music. They also elevated the importance of relationships with peers, parents, and other trusted adults. Protective factors like belonging, physical activity, and self-care practices were emphasized even more than mental health therapy. These insights remind us about the power of prevention and the need to invest in strategies that support young people’s ability to cultivate healthy, supportive relationships and social networks, navigate strong emotions, and manage stress in healthy ways, which includes establishing positive behaviors like regular physical activity, getting enough sleep, and making good decisions.

We appreciate the young Coloradans throughout our state who shared their perspectives.

Students in Pueblo Raise and Award $21,000 to Local Organizations

Students in Pueblo raised and awarded $21,000 to local nonprofits that support teen poverty, homelessness, and mental health. Eleven students were selected for the Pueblo Youth Action Council, a program that promotes community engagement, philanthropy, and leadership among local youth over the course of a school year. Established by Caring for Colorado’s Packard Fund for Pueblo in 2021, fundraising efforts are managed by our staff in Pueblo through a collaboration with Hope Online Learning Academy High School, a nonprofit, free, public charter school, and YouthRoots, a national youth philanthropy organization.

The grant recipients include Boys & Girls Clubs of Pueblo County, Posada, Pueblo Cooperative Care, Servicios de la Raza, and Spark the Change.

New Team Member: Welcome Rachel

Please join us in welcoming a new team member, Rachel Galvan, our controller supporting the accounting and finance functions. Her career spans more than 20 years. Most recently she served as a fractional accounting manager at Ascent CFO Solutions. She is a licensed certified public accountant and serves as treasurer on the Northfield High School Foundation board. Outside of work, Rachel enjoys watching her kids on the soccer field, yoga, walking with a friend on a beautiful Colorado day, baking, reading, and exploring new restaurants with her husband. Read more about Rachel on our website.