Alekhya Buragadda, a youth advocate with the Jewish Healthcare Foundations' PA Youth Advocacy Network, participated in "Supporting Schools in our Communities: A Critical Foundation to Child and Youth Mental Health," a moderated conversation hosted by the Safe and Humane Task Force of the Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice (Global Alliance) on August 9.
The event focused on the role of schools in responding to and supporting child and youth mental health. Panelists explored the design for schools to foster child and youth well-being, and the strengths, weaknesses, and barriers to achieving optimal mental health.
In her comments, Buragadda, a rising junior at South Fayette High School, shared the hurdles she faced in finding mental health supports as a teen and her drive to advocate for more robust policies and programs to support teen mental health, including the implementation of mental health days in schools across Pennsylvania through the Network's advocacy work.
Other panelists included: Sycarah Fisher, PhD, associate professor of School Psychology, University of Georgia; Christine Rosati Randall, AS; Marissa Ricamara Winmill, NBCT, EdD, educator at Kent-Meridian High School. The panel was moderated by Jill H. Bohnenkamp, PhD, assistant professor and core faculty at the National Center for School Mental Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine.