Umatter® for Youth & Young Adults
What is Umatter® for Youth & Young Adults?
Umatter® for Youth and Young Adults (YYA) is a youth leadership and engagement initiatives that includes a full day of interactive training, design and implementation of a Community Action Project (CAP) in their school community, and presentation of CAP at an event with their peers.
The goal is to promote mental health wellness including:
- Healthy coping mechanisms and help-seeking
- The ability to recognize when a peer needs help and how to provide it
- Foster healthy community cultures with youth for youth
- Address issues such as bullying, substance use, and suicide prevention
Core content and skills development includes:
- changing mindset
- assessing personal strengths
- building resiliency, and strategies to cope with stress
- recognizing signs of distress in self and others
- how to reach out for help and how to help a friend.
“I have definitely stepped up more as a leader… It’s cool that I can teach others about what I have learned and touch on the issue of suicide…. It’s good to have the knowledge about how we can help someone in that situation.” ~ Youth Leadership Council member, Jasmine Esposito ~
Elements of Umatter® YYA
- Kick Off Training Event where groups from each school come together to learn mental health wellness skills and become inspired to create a project to impact their community
- Ongoing Umatter® Group Meetings at your school or community organization
- Youth Facilitator Training for youth interested in leading workshops as part of their CAP
- Mental Health Wellness CAP Implemented in your local school or community organization Culmination Event where groups come together to present their CAP, learn from other groups, reflect on their experience, and inspire further action
Adult Facilitator Role
Recruit youth from your school/organization: Create and implement recruitment plan for engaging a diverse group of youth from your school/organization.
Participate in Umatter® YYA Kick-Off Training event: Organize all facets of getting your group to and from the event. Participate in the day’s activities with your group of youth.
Coordinate regular group meetings back at your school/organization: Facilitate activities to build group cohesion, reinforce curriculum content, and plan a Community Action Project (CAP).
Maintain ongoing communication with Umatter® Program Specialist: You will receive regular emails providing group facilitation tips and activities; complete monthly report on group’s progress.
Support youth in carrying out a Mental Health Wellness CAP: Submit a brief one-page proposal including project costs and a final report.Celebrate, reflect, and inspire further action at culminating statewide event: Organize all facets of getting your group to and from the event. Support youth in preparing a presentation of their CAP. Provide feedback through written survey and focus group.
Umatter® Youth and Young Adults Stories from our Blog
Download a PDF description of the Umatter YYA program
The program can be implemented in a one day event or in multiple sessions comprised of workshops for youth and young adults to learn about promoting positive mental health. Youth and young adults then utilize the information they learn and share it with others through the development of a local community action project. Currently, the program is being developed for implementation in local settings over multiple sessions, with a peer development model and workbook for individualized learning.
Umatter® for Youth & Young Adults 2018-2019 Program Highlights
The Umatter® YYA program for 2018-19 is complete. Overall, 12 schools and 68 youth participated and implemented Mental Health Wellness Community Action Projects in their schools. These projects included: mental health awareness week activities, an interactive play about healthy dating relationships, anxiety management resource information campaign, a school wide wellness day, and more. For a full list of project descriptions, click here.
To culminate the success of the program, six schools attended the Youth Summit event on May 30, 2019 at Vermont Technical College. The Umatter Youth Leadership Council did an amazing job facilitating the day. Each group shared their Community Action Projects, reflected on their experience as a group, and planned next steps.
Evaluation data shows that participation in the Umatter® YYA program created a significant change in knowledge, skills, and behaviors including:
- understanding individual strengths
- knowing how to deal with stress in constructive ways
- knowing how to ask for help when struggling or upset
- working cooperatively with a group to complete a project
- knowing how to identify when a friend needs help and how to get them help
- Youth share about their leadership experience in the Umatter YYA program and invite you to get involved in supporting mental health wellness and suicide prevention in this new video.
Here are what Umatter® YYA participants are saying about their experience:
Umatter® helped me gain self-confidence and make new friends”
I like being a part of a group that is actively trying to improve the school and the life of students.”
People should join Umatter® if they want to make a difference in their communities. By normalizing the conversation on mental health, we help people feel less alone which ultimately brings people together.”
Student participants created the content for a poster titled “13 Ways We Promote Mental Health” which we are happy to share here. Please feel free to download and post in your school or community.
If you would like to learn more about implementing the Umatter® for Youth and Young Adult Initiative in your school, please contact us!