California Youth Connection and its partners VOICES, Youth In Mind, and Young Minds Advocacy jointly launched No Stigma No Barriers in October 2016. Our mission is to facilitate the direct engagement of transition age youth (TAY), ages 16 to 28, with California’s state and local mental health systems. Funded by the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC), this youth-led collaborative conducts Outreach, Training, and Advocacy activities at the state and local levels to improve outcomes among TAY. In September 2017, the collaborative welcomed PEERS, the premier peer-led organization for Alameda County residents, as a governing member in VOICES stead.
California’s Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), approved by the voters in 2004, plays a major role in funding innovative mental health services, mental health treatment, prevention and early intervention, education, and training to people of all ages affected by mental illness throughout the state. MHSOAC oversees the investment of MHSA dollars and provides vision and leadership to California’s public mental health systems, in collaboration with clients, their families, and underserved communities. The act requires that MHSOAC utilize transparent and collaborative processes to determine mental health needs, priorities, and services for California mental health consumers–contracting with CYC and its partners ensure that these values are upheld for TAY.
California Youth Connection is a statewide organization comprised entirely of youth ages 14 to 24 with direct experience of our state’s foster care, mental health, and juvenile justice systems. CYC facilitates youth-led organizing, education, and advocacy, providing a transformational experience of community and individual empowerment.
PEERS confronts mental health stigma by delivering support groups, workshops, and community outreach. We are the premier peer-led mental health alternative for Alameda County residents.
Youth In Mind is a nonprofit organization founded and steered by youth affected by the mental health system. Youth In Mind members participate in multiple levels of leadership and advocacy, including member leadership summits, mental health conferences, and local advocacy activities with the purpose of promoting positive change through authentic youth engagement.
Young Minds Advocacy is a nonprofit organization founded to address the number one health issue facing young people and their families— unmet mental health needs. Using a blend of policy research and advocacy, impact litigation, and strategic communications, YMA works to change attitudes towards mental illness and break down barriers to quality mental health care for young people and their families.
“Having different perspectives is gold. There are so many things that can be learned if you have multiple perspectives and forgotten if you don’t. When you have a roomful of adults talking about youth, they think the youth are experiencing things in a certain way, and they’re interpreting those things without a youth there to share their perspectives about what it’s like to be hospitalized or be on three different medications at a young age. What is that like and how can we be more sensitive to youth’s experience?” – Sunshine Hartwell, 23, LGBTQ Youth Advocate, VOICES Youth Center