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Tuesday May 10

A shared Understanding: The Current Landscape of Youth Mental Health

2:30pm ET (1:30 CT; 12:30pm MT; 11:30am PT)


1) The Impact of Loss: How the COVID-19 Pandemic has Affected Youth’s Behavioral Health, What the Pandemic has Taught Us, and How We Can Move Forward

Presenters: Gretchen Hagenbuch & Selena Morresi

Death, Loss of family livelihoods and financial security, loss of hopes and dreams, loss of normalcy. The COVID-19 Pandemic has had a profound impact on youth experience and young people are struggling with the more intensely than ever before. This session will focus on gaining a greater understanding of how COVID-19 has impacted youth mental health and become better versed in how grief and loss manifests differently based on age. We will explore the reasons that students grieve even beyond the death of a loved one and leave with resources and skills on how to empower youth and make a positive change.

2) Examining the Factors that Support and Inhibit LGBTQ+ Youth Mental Health

Presenters: Maru Gonzalez, NC State University; Dani Castillo-Dávalos, Oregon State University; Anna EldenBrady, Michigan State University; Nancy Moores, University of Florida; Joseph Rand, University of Minnesota; Liliana Vega, University of California; Alison White, Washington State University; David Widdison, Utah State University

Despite an increased emphasis on LGBTQ+ inclusion in K-12 schools and community settings, LGBTQ+ youth remain at high risk for stress, anxiety, depression, suicide, and drug and alcohol abuse. LGBTQ+ youth who are members of multiple marginalized social identity groups and those who reside in rural communities experience additional barriers. Understanding the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ youth is an essential first step in cultivating an inclusive and affirming environment that supports LGBTQ+ youth mental health. In this interactive and informative session, participants will learn about the mental health risks LGBTQ+ youth face and the factors that help them thrive.

3) Developing Self-Worth: Building Relationships by Understanding Trauma, Triggers, and Attachment

Presenter: Es Swihart, Johns Hopkins University

Self-worth has been shown to support student-motivation, competencies of self-management, and learning efficacy (Cushman & Cowan, 2010). The relationships formed by young people with adults has a direct impact on a young person’s sense of self. There is a need to better understand how the relationships young people have with adults influences their beliefs and self-worth, and the role that trauma, triggers, and attachment have on these relationships. By understanding how the brain develops amidst these factors, adults can better understand the behavior of the youths they engage with, building intentional relationships that support and foster self-worth in young people.

4) Understanding the Impacts of Racial Trauma on Youth of Color and the Importance of Racial/Ethnic Identity Development

Presenters: Liliana Vega & Russell Hill – University of California, Alison White – Washington State University

This workshop will highlight the impact Racial Trauma and Race-based Traumatic Stress (RBTS) have on youth of color. Presenter(s) will define RBTS and discuss the effects of racial trauma on the mental health and wellbeing for youth of color. Positive Youth Development (PYD) experiences and outcomes differ for youth of color and they must be acknowledged by practitioners.  The core components of PYD are just as impactful for youth of color and we must strive to achieve parity and equality in our delivery. Youth practitioners can benefit from learning to incorporate effective PYD methods that respond to Racial Trauma to help youth gain a positive sense of self and build positive racial/ethnic identity.

5) PYD through a Trauma Informed Lens

Presenters: Brent Broaddus, UF/IFAS Extension; Dr. Martie Gillen, UF/IFAS FYCS; Selena Garrison, UF/IFAS FYCS; Sarah Hensley, UF/IFAS Extension; Jessica Sprain, UF/IFAS Extension

Given the overwhelming frequency of children who have endured Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and/or other trauma, 4-H professionals and volunteers must be aware of and intentionally offer programs through a trauma informed lens. Trust-based relational intervention (TBRI®) (Purvis, Cross, Dansereau, & Parris, 2013) informs the science of professionals working with youth who have experienced varying degrees of trauma. Professionals who intentionally provide an inclusive developmental context for all youth promote a space for young people to thrive and achieve positive developmental outcomes, thus contributing to the thriving of youth as a spark champion in their life.