Connection isn’t Complicated: Youth Perspective on Mental Health in Maine
The Youth Health Council (or YHC) was formed in the fall of 2021 by youth members from around the state. The team gathered in an effort to create an open and understanding environment where young people could explore their concerns, find support, and learn how to effect change in their communities.
The Youth Health Council’s (YHC) mission is to start conversations about health issues and make a difference within the state of Maine and its communities. Over the past year, YHC has worked to support youth-driven change to the many mental health challenges that our communities are facing.
The Youth Health Council met weekly to discuss young people’s challenges in Maine, research these issues, and create safe spaces for other young folks to join these conversations. Working together on the Youth Health Council has significantly influenced its participants’ lives, and the goal is to continue to empower and positively influence!
Hear From Participants
Here are some amazing quotes from participants:
“My time with the youth health council was an inspiring one. I really enjoyed working with all of the awesome people that MYAN brought together. I feel that I learned so much about myself and about some of the different communities throughout Maine. I feel super lucky to have been a part of what we accomplished here, and I hope that we can expand our scope and help more people, and continue to make a difference.” – Isla
“It was really cool to work with a group who shared my opinions and vision for youth mental health. It was amazing to connect with other young folks who shared my perspective and collaborate to make change.” – Mackenzie Schors
“Though we did many activities in the Youth Health Council this year, all different in their own ways, they all served the purpose of meeting our group’s mission, including forming that mission. Some of the many things we did included: analysis of a survey conducted among maine youth, discussion of youth mental health in Maine and specifically what we can do to help, studying ways to make a difference and giving a presentation to the Maine Public Health Association.” – Avery Mentzinger
Youth Health Council’s Work
After analyzing a survey circulated by the Maine Youth Action Network and conducting additional research, they discovered that while many were struggling with mental health issues, many felt they had no one to turn to for help or connection. For more information on the findings of YHC’s research.
Next, let’s meet some remarkable young Mainers who make this work possible!
Meet some Youth Health Council Team members!
Hey! My name is Avery, I use she/her pronouns and I’m 15. I currently attend Portland High School and live in Portland Maine. I’ve always had a passion for the medical field, but I recently began to be increasingly interested in public health. I love how it’s a way to understand the health of individuals beyond just biology, and health on a more community based level. I think it’s so, SO important that everyone has access to high quality healthcare, no matter where they live, how much they make, etc. One fun fact about me is that between my moms house and my dads house I have 11 pets (5 cats, 4 dogs and 2 tortoises)!
Hi! I’m Lilly. I use she/they pronouns and am an incoming senior at Bonny Eagle High School. I became interested in public health because I love helping people, and I realized that many of the reasons people struggle with things like mental illness, addiction, and homelessness are related to the health of their community as a whole. Creating positive change to benefit others is important to me, and it is why I joined the health council. A fun fact about me is that I love all things plants; my room is filled with them!!
Hi! My name is Mackenzie Schors, and I am a 16-year-old sophomore at Machias Memorial High School! My pronouns are she/her/hers! My biggest interest in public health is mental health, and so, therefore, I joined this council to bring awareness to not only mental health in general but stigmas, outreach, help, and many other things. A fun fact about me is I am triple-jointed!
Hi, my name is Syreniti Grant. I am a Junior at Penquis Valley High School. My pronouns are she her hers. My biggest interest in public health is trying to understand the causes of mental health and how to fix them. A fun fact about me is that I’m involved in other extracurricular clubs and sports.
Hello, my name is Isla Barmby. I use she/her pronouns, and I have been working with the MYAN Youth Health Council for the last year or so. just graduated from the Maine Coast Waldorf School. I am super passionate about all health issues, and I’m interested in going into the healthcare field. My favorite thing about working with these brilliant people is the discussions that we are able to have about issues in our communities and their thoughtfulness and willingness to collaborate.