Statistics indicate that one in five teens experience mental illness. Thankfully, the stigma around mental health is not what it used to be. With public figures speaking out about their own battles and therapy apps on the rise, there are more channels promoting discussion and offering help than ever before. In honor of Mental Health Awareness month, we're highlighting the work of one Bay Area organization that is providing crucial support to teens and families struggling with mental health issues.
Stacy Drazan and Susan Gordon Bird both had personal ties to the cause when they decided to start SafeSpace. Modeled after a successful Australian program, the centers are designed by and for teens, giving them a place to talk and be heard by licensed professionals and peers. They offer a variety of community resources, including youth meditation classes and lunch groups for family members and clinicians affected by teen mental illness, as well as a robust online knowledge database. SafeSpace also maintains a youth advisory board of 12-18-year-old students, who engage school faculty and community members in crucial discussions around teen mental health. It's this multi-dimensional approach that makes SafeSpace effective at catching young people early on and getting them the help they need to feel good again.