ATLANTA – Silence the Shame (STS) is teaming up with the Atlanta Braves Foundation, Healthcare Georgia Foundation, and the Free your Feels Campaign to offer mental health programming for Georgia's Youth & Families. According to the Surgeon General, mental health challenges are the leading cause of disability and poor life outcomes in young people. The challenges associated with the pandemic are particularly affecting those who were already vulnerable, including marginalized communities such as LBGTQ+ youth and racial and ethnic communities.
STS exists to eliminate mental health stigma and reduce health disparities and suicide rates for vulnerable populations. We are partnering with public and private organizations to bring the Youth Mental Wellness Community Outreach & Practice Effort (COPE) Clinic to teens ages 13 to 19 throughout Georgia. The COPE clinic is an immersive experience of panel discussions, wellness workshops, experiential coping techniques, and vocational skills building to improve mental health outcomes and resilience for Georgia's Youth.
In addition, STS will recruit youth and young adults 13 to 26 to serve as ambassadors and advisory members to increase mental health awareness and promote youth voices in their communities. Youth advisory members will use their voices to educate and empower peers in mental health awareness.
"Now is the time to offer culturally relevant opportunities to our young people and provide the tools they need to be successful as adults," said Shanti Das, Founder and CEO of Silence the Shame. "These partnerships are the way to make sustainable change in the lives of youth in our communities."
“The stigma surrounding mental health services has been such a painful and detrimental obstacle for Georgia’s youth to overcome,” said Kristy Klein Davis, President & CEO of Healthcare Georgia Foundation. She continued, “That’s why we’re proud to partner with Silence the Shame as they work so diligently to bring their COPE clinic to Georgia’s teens and continue to facilitate these lifesaving mental health conversations.”
“Access to mental health services can be lifechanging, especially for vulnerable youth,” said Danielle Bedasse, Vice President of Community Affairs at the Atlanta Braves and Executive Director of the Atlanta Braves Foundation. “The new COPE clinics will help fill a need in our community, and we are proud to partner with Silence the Shame to help strike out the stigma behind mental health.”
"The team at VOX ATL is excited to continue to bring strong and authentic youth voices to this community conversation about mental health through the Free Your Feels campaign, partnership with Silence the Shame's COPE clinics, and the media we co-create," said Rachel Alterman Wallack, VOX ATL's Founder and Mission Director. "Peer-to-peer communication is vital in the conversation about mental health to reduce stigma and increase access to care when needed." VOX ATL served as a community partner for STS’s 2022 COPE Clinics and will continue to be a partner for 2023 programs.
The first COPE clinic will occur in the Atlanta Metro area in March, with more clinics hosted through September 2023. To stay informed about Silence the Shame's upcoming events, visit our website at silencetheshame.com or follow us @silencetheshame on Instagram and @SilenceThShame on Facebook. In addition, if you know an aspiring youth leader, encourage them to apply to be a Youth Ambassador or a member of the STS Youth and Young Adult Advisory Board.
ABOUT SILENCE THE SHAME
Silence the Shame, Inc. is a national non-profit organization founded in 2017 by music executive veteran Atlanta, Georgia, native Shanti Das, dedicated to eliminating mental health stigma and reducing health disparities and suicide rates among vulnerable populations. Our mission is to empower and educate communities on mental health and wellness. We are committed to sustaining programs to promote mental well-being using lived experiences, education, and strategic professional partnerships. In addition, we promote mental health and recovery awareness and education to increase access to behavioral health services and support for over 65,000 people annually. STS targets marginalized populations, including Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer or Questioning (LGBTQ+), children and their families, older adults, rural families, people with high-stress jobs.
ABOUT HEALTHCARE GEORGIA FOUNDATION
Since its inception in 1999, the Foundation has dedicated itself to prioritizing Georgians' access to quality health services in various ways. By understanding that a healthy and thriving life is shaped by the conditions in which people are born, learn, work, play, worship, and age, Healthcare Georgia Foundation approaches the pursuit of health equity with a nimble and comprehensive strategy that rises to meet the needs of Georgia's landscape. For more information, visit healthcaregeorgia.org. ABOUT THE ATLANTA BRAVES FOUNDATION The mission of the Atlanta Braves Foundation is to build community through baseball engaging Braves Country, reaching vulnerable populations, and improving equity and access in sport, health, education and well-being outcomes for children, families, and communities. Community engagement and social responsibility efforts align with a programmatic focus in 5 key areas: Live, Learn, Play, Serve, and Sustain.
ABOUT THE FREE YOUR FEELS CAMPAIGN
Free Your Feels (FYF) is a youth mental health awareness campaign that encourages Georgia's young people to explore their real feelings and share them fearlessly. The campaign's goals are to SPEAK: We want to empower youth to speak out and express their real feelings. LISTEN: To encourage adults and peers to check in with each other and listen judgmentfree. CONNECT: To connect everyone to resources for further guidance or help. For more information, follow us on all social media @freeyourfeelsga or visit our website at https://www.freeyourfeels.org/.