SafeSpace Winter Events

Child, Disrupted Documentary Screening
Thursday, February 7, 2019, 7–8:15 PM PST
Menlo-Atherton High School Performing Arts Center
555 Middlefield Road
Atherton, CA 94027

The award-winning short documentary Child, Disrupted features interviews with experts in the fields of neuroscience, occupational therapy, addiction, psychology, and sociology regarding the reality behind the effects of excessive screen time on children.There will be a follow up discussion panel with the film director and experts in the field. This event is FREE of charge. RSVP on Eventbrite!

One Hour of Mindfulness and Meditation For Young People
When: Thursdays from 5-6 PM (February 7, 21, 28)
SafeSpace Community Engagement Center
708 Oak Grove Ave. Menlo Park, CA

These classes introduce young people, ages 12-26, to the basic skills of a mindfulness practice. Each lesson will help guide to a more peaceful life by showing and engaging in the practices that help teens deal with everyday stress and anxiety. The lessons are simple and fun, yet effective. Taught by Julie Brody, BSN, MA in Women’s Spirituality, Mindfulness Educator and Certified Yoga Instructor. Register through Eventbrite!

SafeSpace Youth Board Update

Our SafeSpace Youth Board continues to spearhead numerous partnerships with schools, organizations, community services and businesses, to promote mental health activism and improve accessibility of resources and help seeking behaviors for young people. This grassroots effort has changed the lives of our young people and reached countless teens and educators. Our youth board is currently 70+ strong, reaching numerous middle and high schools.

The SafeSpace Youth Board has expressed significant concern about critical teen mental health issues in the schools and community in the San Mateo area. Over the past six months, many middle and high school students from the San Mateo and Burlingame region have joined SafeSpace to specially work on initiatives in their schools and communities that promote mental health awareness, foster human connections. and reduce the stigma of getting help. We look forward to expanding these efforts in San Mateo as we look to open our second SafeSpace site in this area in 2019.

The Power of Social Media to Spread Positive Messages around Teen Mental Health

Our SafeSpace teens have taken to social media to spread powerful messages targeting mental health and wellness for young people. Our weekly segments “Friday Facts,” and “Monday Youth Profiles” on Instagram and Facebook have received significant attention from young people in our local area and beyond. In addition, our New Generation, New Conversations videos have been posted on social media and viewed at most of our SafeSpace  schools at assemblies, football games, and on school webcasts. Over 15,000 young people have viewed these videos during the past three months.

Promoting the Collective Teen Voice in Our Community

Several SafeSpace Youth Board members are collaborating with other local youth organizations to create a new community support network of young people focus on teen mental health activism and awareness in our area. The goals of this community initiative are to bring together local youth organizations to coordinate on common initiatives, inform youth of the mental health services available in our communities, and empower young people to take ownership of their own health and mental wellness. 

The Ripple Effect

By Novak Chernesky, Sophomore at Crystal Springs Uplands School
Most kids want to make the world a better place. I know I always have. A lot of the kids I’ve worked with, been friends with, or interacted with, have expressed to me how impactful the work of SafeSpace is. Giving kids a community and a platform to turn that drive into action creates a real opportunity for change. When I got involved with SafeSpace over the summer, I had a ton of ideas and energy. In SafeSpace I found a way to direct all of that energy into making my ideas happen. I knew I wanted to focus on creating thorough mental health education in my local community, so that we could really get these messages about mental health through to every person we work with, spreading information on a personal, individual level. 

I chose to start by creating a mental health network within my school, made up of around 30 students who shared a level of dedication to spreading mental health awareness. With this group of students, we’ve created several initiatives within the school, with a focus on establishing an ongoing conversation around mental health.

My favorite initiative that I’ve worked on was co-creating and teaching a three lesson unit for our 7th grade class about mental health. I brought together about 10 different students from the high school, and in collaboration with our middle school’s guidance counselor, we created and facilitated lessons for these students and me to teach to the 7th grade. We explored what mental health is, helped define some common mental health terms in order to de-stigmatize them, and talked about all the different people and resources that they could take advantage of if they were struggling with their mental health and needed help. The response we got from the kids was incredible. They engaged with the lesson, shared personal experiences, asked questions, and thought deeply about the activities. They even started bringing up their own thoughts on mental health and its intersection with social media, school, and stress. Because of the amazing conversation that came from those lessons, we want to make this an annual class given to every 7th grader that passes through our school, and hopefully distribute this lesson plan to other educators at middle schools so they can pass on the same information and spark conversation around mental health in their own community.

Beyond my school, I’ve been able to be a part of several really cool projects, such as the SafeSpace video series. Recently, Lesley connected me with Nicole Galovski, who is working with a branch of the Lady Gaga Foundation called Fictionless. They’re working to create a video series for a teen mental health first aid course, and I have the honor of being able to talk about my story and the importance of mental health in the video along with two other teens.

Going forward, I know there are going to be countless more projects. Some just tiny inklings of an idea in my mind right now, and some are already underway. Panels, workshops, and a comprehensive list of resources are examples of some great things that are to come. After every class I teach or meeting I attend or event I plan, the sense of community, connection, and hope for my generation is like no other feeling I have ever experienced. I can see firsthand the effect that organizations like SafeSpace have on kids my age or my younger brother’s age, and I know that the work we do is starting a conversation that will revolutionize the attitude towards mental health.