SafeSpace Spotlights: April 2018

Connecting The Community

SafeSpace Youth Advisory Board Update

As the SafeSpace Youth Advisory Board enters its second year, we are so proud of our young people who have demonstrated tremendous leadership skills and sustained perseverance, as they spread their ideas and passion for youth mental health advocacy. Some of the specific SYAB activities include; writing and presenting youth mental health proposals to school administration, collaborating on school action plans, creating dial down spaces within school facilities, engaging middle school students in mental health activities, participating on panels informing/advising parents regarding mental health issues plaguing youth, and developing emerging partnerships with numerous local youth organizations.

Shadow’s Edge: First-Ever Mobile “Serious Game” for Teens

Recently SafeSpace met with innovator, Shari Sobrato, creator of  Shadows Edge a new mobile game to help young people address the stress of  illness through taking charge of their emotional health in fun and engaging ways.

Shadow’s Edge is designed to build resilience in teens who have medical or emotional challenges. The game guides teen players through a process of journaling and creative expression, and helps them come to terms with their challenges within an immersive, edgy game world. Combining psychology and technology, this free app reaches teens through their mobile devices. For more information visit www.shadowsedge.com (a blog for and by teens). Parents and professionals can find  more information on www.diggingdeep.org.

2018-2019 SafeSpace Youth Advisory Board Openings

SafeSpace is currently accepting new applications for the 2018-19 SafeSpace Youth Advisory Board (SYAB). We are looking for young people from local middle and high schools who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of other young people and want to become advocates for youth mental health. In addition, we are also expanding the Youth Advisory Board to San Mateo and are recruiting high school students in that area Over the summer, we will offer SYAB training, a youth mental health first aid class and a time to meet with school faculty to plan specific school actions and initiatives integrating the youth voice in mental health promotion. Please spread the word. Applications are now available through these links: Middle School SYAB Application link and SYAB High School Application link

Updates from BACA, our Affiliate Partner

The Bay Area Clinical Associates (BACA) leadership team is completing the initial stages of a comprehensive strategic planning process designed to provide a framework for growth in the Bay Area in the years ahead. They are recruiting psychiatrists, psychotherapists and other staff at all three sites (Menlo Park, Oakland and San Jose), and are offering free needs assessments (FNA) for individuals 26 and under at all sites. A FNA is a free 60-90 minute screening assessment designed to determine what level of clinical care is appropriate for the individual and her/his family system. Masters-or Doctoral-level clinicians conduct the standardized assessment and staff the case with a psychiatrist. Referrals are then offered based on clinical need, either to a BACA service if appropriate/available or to community resources as indicated. Learn more at BACA.org.

Upcoming events

SafeSpace is excited to offer dynamic workshops to youth and families in our community. All workshops will be offered at the SafeSpace Community Engagement Center at 708 Oak Grove Ave, Menlo Park and registration will be through Eventbrite.

Meditation and Mindfulness for Youth

Every Thursday starting April 19, this six-week workshop at the SafeSpace Community Engagement Center introduces young people, ages 12-26, to the basic skills of a mindfulness practice. These introductory lessons will help guide to a more peaceful life by showing and engaging in the practices that help teens deal with everyday stress and anxiety. Topics include senses, body scan, emotions, self-care/ self-love and learning to be present. Register Here

Moving on Up

In collaboration with therapists from Parent’s Place, this workshop focuses on the transition to high school to help parents and students prepare for a successful incoming ninth grade year. A SafeSpace student panel will share insight, stories, and personal successes revolving around what they wish they knew before entered high school, a parent’s role, tools for understanding high school life, and how to become organized for success. The event will be held on April 24 from 7:00-8:30 pm. Register here.

Rejection – The Silver Living

Parents will gain a deeper understanding of how challenges and struggles are a part of life and necessary for building resiliency and creating opportunities through disappointment. The discussion in this parent workshop will be led by therapists from Parent’s Place and will focus on what to do and say when young people face rejection, for example, in a relationship, internship, sport, prom or with colleges. The event will be held on May 22 from 7:00-8:30 pm. Register Here.

Manage Your Worries So Your Teen Doesn’t Have To

This round table workshop for parents teaches about the impact of stress on young people. With the guidance of two mental health professionals from Centered Wisdom, Nina Keebler and Elizabeth McGinnis, parents will walk away with tools to feel calmer and stronger to prevent stress from trickling down to their teen. The event will be held on May 2 from 7:00-8:30 pm. Register Here.

Ripples and Reflections

Triggers: By Caden Hansen, Sophomore, Woodside High School and SafeSpace Youth Advisory Board Member

In the last couple of years “triggered” jokes have been widely used by teens after the term became a popular meme. Those jokes turned into declarations of “I’m gonna kill myself” in the most random and most trivial circumstances without any genuine intention. “KMS” became a common abbreviation for “kill myself” in texting/social media.  Other examples are statements like, “the weather is bipolar” when the weather can’t actually have a disorder, weaponizing a term by accusing someone of OCD because he/she keeps their room organized, or deeming someone retarded because their grades are slipping. Although a lot of people find it harmless, for those of us who actually have anxiety disorders, PTSD, or substance addictions, triggering takes a surprising toll on our sense of self-worth and validity.

“Triggered” is flung around without much thought, and the general misuse of mental health language runs rampant today,  diminishing mental illnesses by turning them into adjectives and even slurs.

There are actions we can take to lessen the blow and empower each other and our youth. The simplest is awareness. We need to educate people who are unaware of the jokes and misuse of language. We need to teach friends, families, peers, teachers, and students that mental health and illness are not things to be afraid of or to laugh at.  We need to, lift each other up instead of tearing each other down. To read Caden’s full article, visit our Safespace website blog