The Springfield Youth Mental Health Coalition (YMHC) is convened by the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts. The Coalition consists of behavioral health and youth-serving organizations from across Greater Springfield. The YMHC is advised by a team of outstanding Youth Advisors, known as Beat the Odds (BTO), Forget the Statistics - a name they branded themselves.
The Hope for Youth and Families Foundation will offer free Summer Sports and Enrichment programs for all Springfield Middle & High School Students from July 10 - August 11, 2023.
Learn about more free programs for Springfield kids ---> Free Summer Camps & Programs | Springfield Empowerment Zone (sezp.org)
The Beat the Odds (BTO) Youth Advisors to the Springfield Youth Mental Health Coalition invite you to come together and celebrate with us! BTO has planned an amazingly fun, engaging, and informative mental health awareness event for their peers in grades 6 - 12.
This is an event you will not want to miss! There will be a keynote speaker, group discussions (think Red Table Talk!), interactive workshops (youth can choose which ones they want to go to!), delicious food, games, and raffles....don't delay, register today!
The Springfield Youth Mental Health Coalition is convened by the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts. The Coalition consists of behavioral health and youth-serving organization across Greater Springfield, and it is guided by our outstanding Youth Advisors, known as Beat the Odds (BTO), Forget the Statistics - a name they branded themselves!
Register for the Youth Summit on May 6th
In 2019, the YHMC embarked on a yearlong planning process to identify an existing health concern exacerbated by the presence of a casino in Springfield, MA. An Advisory Board gathered diverse community voices and content expert input as well as data from existing community health needs assessments, to strategically narrow from a list of fifteen potential issues to one - youth behavioral health. Thank you to all who participated in the Youth Voice Survey and helped spread the word.
After recognizing the need to reduce generational stigma around the topic of mental health and the need for awareness around the impacts of stress, anxiety and depression, the Youth Mental Health Coalition created an awareness campaign specifically for youth and families in the Greater Springfield area.
The I Am More Than My Mood (“More than my mood”, or “#MTMM”) public awareness campaign began with a red-carpet launch event on February 24, 2023 at the Community Music School of Springfield.
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and local dignitaries joined the YMHC coalition for the launch event and heard directly from those who worked to bring the campaign to life, including YMHC Manager Tiffany Rufino, Springfield Public Schools Chief Communications Officer Azell Cavaan, and the Youth Advisors from the Beat the Odds youth groups at Martin Luther King, Jr. Family Services and the South End Community Center.
During the launch event, the Youth Advisors explained the meaning behind each of the ads in the More Than My Mood campaign and why talking about their emotions and mental health with trusted peers and adults helps overcome challenges.
As Shabazz Wilson (partner from BHN) noted, “Mental Health is Health. Check on Your Friends Today.”
The public awareness campaign will run on billboards, social and digital media, and on PVTA bus ads in the greater Springfield region through the summer of 2023. The More Than My Mood website has a fantastic set of resources for both youth and adults who support them.
More Than My Mood campaign posters are also available for your organization in print and digital form – you can find them here. The campaign ads were designed by Axiom Blue and feature local youth from right here in Springfield.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno states, “The Springfield Youth Mental Health Coalition is doing such a phenomenal job in continuing to address the stigma that surrounds mental health, especially when it comes to their work with young people. Stress, anxiety, and depression are issues that we all must face from time to time. It is important that everyone knows that there are resources and places to go that can help us through the toughest times. Remember that it is ok to seek out that help. Your mood, your zip code, or your current circumstances do not define who you are – you do.”
Springfield's Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris stated, “Mental illness knows no boundaries, no income status. It affects all of us. Just like physical health, it is normal and common to experience struggles when it comes to mental health. It is OK to seek help.”
Commissioner Caulton-Harris further explained, “Socialization is key to mental and emotional health for adolescents. The COVID-19 pandemic caused extreme isolation that resulted in limited social and emotional contact with peers which had a devastating impact on the mental health of our youth, resulting in increased rates of suicide and trauma. This awareness campaign and the work behind it is crucial to reaching our youth and ensuring they know the importance of taking care of their mental health and where to turn when they are struggling.”