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About the Network

The PA Youth Advocacy Network seeks to provide skills-building and advocacy opportunities for teens who have an interest in mental health. Youth advocates, connected as a powerful network for change across the Commonwealth, are committed to:

  • Educating teachers and students in mental health

  • Reducing disparities in mental health

  • Promoting suicide prevention and awareness

  • Creating safe and inclusive school environments

  • Addressing mental health as part of health

Inspired by national youth movements, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (based in Pittsburgh) sought to engage young people in this urgent call to action.


The aim of developing a statewide youth advocacy network is to connect a diverse group of student leaders, including teens with lived experience facing mental health challenges and their peers, to develop advocacy skills, understand implications of policy and resource allocation, and advocate for change. Since the initial advocacy summit in November 2018, youth have demonstrated they are a powerful force for change, leading advocacy and awareness building efforts in their own communities and joining together to advocate at the state level.


The PA Youth Advocacy Network brings together a diverse group of youth advocates and partner organizations, including Stand Together, The Second Floor at the Jewish Community Center of Pittsburgh, the Beaver County Youth Ambassadors Program, the Friendship Circle-Pittsburgh, UpStreet Pittsburgh, PA Care Partnership, Youth MOVE PA, The Mentoring Partnership, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.


38% of Pennsylvania middle school and high school students reported feeling depressed or sad most days.

21% of 13-18 year olds experience a seriously debilitating mental disorder.

50% of parents surveyed said their teen experienced a new or worsening mental health condition after the pandemic started, and pandemic restrictions made it difficult to seek help.

Statistics from: 2021 Pennsylvania Youth Survey, Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency

Network Partners

The PA Youth Advocacy Network is comprised of individuals and organizational partners from across the Commonwealth who come together to support youth and advocate for change across the state. We are proud to support the hard work of these organizations in creating supportive spaces for youth.

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