Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020, the U.S. has been impacted by skyrocketing rates of anxiety, depression and suicide among youth from early adolescence into young adulthood.
In response, The Shift, a digital platform led by a diverse, all-female executive team of impact producers, is partnering with some of the leading national and local nonprofits organizations, schools, universities, policymakers, mental health experts and lived-experience influencers to launch a series of unique/immersive/interactive, youth-oriented virtual wellness rallies. The fast-paced, content-rich events are designed to help kickstart the conversations that stop the stigma and encourage appropriate help-seeking behaviors.
May is nationally recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month and, during this time, advocates raise awareness of those living with mental or behavioral health issues and aim to shed light on the issues that so many people experience. The Shift, in partnership with NAMI Westside LA for Los Angeles and Rincon Family Services for Chicago, will kick off the first of two of its Wellness Rally event series. Each wellness rally will run 45 - 60 minutes and be customized to address the local communities, ensuring that The Shift Wellness Rallies to follow on college campuses will be different from those held in high schools in addition to creating specialized footprints for cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit or Portland.
"NAMI Westside LA is thrilled to be bringing The Shift to LA for the launch of their first Wellness Rally. I'm especially excited about their focus on promoting youth voices, because it is so closely aligned with our mission to provide mental health support and education to the many students and their families in our community," said Erin Ryan, Executive Director, NAMI Westside LA.
"We are excited and humbled to be a part of the upcoming The Shift Wellness Rally, a very important dialogue about mental health and its impact on our communities. Now more than ever, in light of an unparalleled pandemic, times of racial disparity and social unjust that we are facing - the importance of lifting up youth voices, breaking down stigmas surrounding our well-being, and ensuring that our communities receive the necessary resources is key to any process of recovery," said Eddy Borrayo, president and CEO of Rincon Family Services.
"Our partnering with The Shift expands the opportunity to have a robust and honest conversation about mental health issues among our communities and our youth, and what concrete nationwide actions can be taken moving forward are key to equalizing mental health for everyone." The Shift Wellness Rally Confirmed Dates (additional events are in development)
The Shift Wellness Rally event series will feature youth-driven Q&A, round table discussions, testimonials, training and guided activities, and interactive surveys and polls. Content will connect audiences with resources, tool kits, strategies, and more from partner organizations. Community work started in the rallies will continue long after the rallies are completed, touching thousands of lives. The Shift believes that these rallies can make a lifetime of difference for the young people they serve.