The High School Program is a youth-

directed program utilizing

active-participation clubs as a means

of fighting the stigma surrounding

mental illness and learning more

about mental wellness.

In this proactive manner, the High School Program empowers and inspires teens to educate one another and their community, while creating a culture of peer support and promoting help-seeking behaviors within their schools.

The High School Program stands apart from other programs because it provides teens with a platform to share their voices, and allows them the freedom and initiative to learn, educate, and raise awareness within their clubs and beyond.

The High School Program is a youth-directed program utilizing active-participation clubs as a means of fighting the stigma surrounding mental illness and learning more about mental wellness.

In this proactive manner, the High School Program empowers and inspires teens to educate one another and their community, while creating a culture of peer support and promoting help-seeking behaviors within their schools.

The High School Program stands apart from other programs because it provides teens with a platform to share their voices, and allows them the freedom and initiative to learn, educate, and raise awareness within their clubs and beyond.

Start Your Club

Thank you for considering launching a High School Program at your high school. Through this student-led club initiative, we help to erase the stigma of mental illness by increasing awareness and education, fostering student empowerment, building mentoring opportunities and encouraging youth to challenge the misconceptions that so commonly surround mental health conditions. This is a big responsibility.

As you decide whether the club program is right for you and your group, the below information will serve as your guide. Becoming part of this movement is exciting and rewarding, but we know it isn’t for everyone. So, please review the High School Program Requirements carefully to enable yourself to make the best decision.

If, upon reading the club requirements, you would like to continue with the registration process, please download and complete the  High School Program Advisor Agreement Form and the High School Program School Approval Form. Additionally, you will need to read and agree to the High School Program Terms and Conditions.

Once the forms have been signed, click here to register your club.

Please note that for the 2016 – 2017 school year, the High School Program is only able to accept applications from high schools located in Northern California. If your school is not within this region and you are interested in starting a High School Program, please contact Leanne Loughran to be added to the High School Program Waiting List.

The High School Program staff is here to assist you. If you have any questions or need additional information please email leanne.l@bringchange2mind.org.

Guidebook

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the High School Program Important?

One in four people will be affected by a mental illness at some point in their lives. 50% of these mental health disorders will begin before the age of 14, and 70% before the age of 25. There are effective treatments available for mental illness, but nearly two-thirds of people living with a diagnosis do not seek help from a health professional because of stigma and discrimination. This lack of understanding and empathy is preventing millions of people from leading full and successful lives, and we find that to be unacceptable.

Communities, schools, and governments are gradually recognizing the impact of mental illness on today’s youth, as shown by funding for mental health services and early intervention initiatives. However, in the growing efforts to improve these services, the most important voice, the teen voice, is often being lost.

Through a novel framework, the High School Program empowers teens to become catalysts of change. Students decide how to tackle these issues in a way that is relevant to them, their peers, and their community. In this nontraditional, youth-focused approach, these clubs encourages teens to utilize their social media and crowd sourcing skills to achieve the goal of normalizing the conversation around mental health. The adolescent years are a critical window for raising mental health awareness and addressing concerns, and the High School Program is helping teenagers to feel supported and encouraged on their journey to wellness.

How Does the High School Program Work?

The High School Program approach works from the teen perspective up by providing a platform from which the teen voice, complete with opinions and suggestions, is finally heard. The student-led high school clubs create a space for educated conversation around mental illness that change perceptions early on and demystify a topic that affects so many young individuals, either directly through their own experience or indirectly through a family members or friends’ experience.

The High School Program provides each club with the materials and resources required to launch and develop their group. This includes student and advisor guidebooks with detailed club information, and a range of discussion and activity ideas; club leaflets; branded swag to help unify the High School Program members and to highlight their club’s presence on campus; a bi-weekly newsletter that provides program updates and information as well as notifications of local events, activities, and trainings; a $500 grant to help fund activities related to the High School Program mission; and ideas for community events and activities. Additionally, the High School Program works with each club to organize mental health trainings and speakers that are of interest to the students.

How is the High School Program Different?

Communities, schools and government are recognizing the impact of mental illness on our youth, as shown by increased funding to mental health services and early intervention initiatives. However, rarely are teens being brought to the table to share their thoughts and views on the topic. In the growing efforts to improve mental health services, the most important voice, the teen voice, is often being lost.

The High School Program’s approach works from the teen perspective up. These clubs provide a platform from which their voice, opinions and suggestions can be heard. When a teen struggles with mental illness or the indirect consequences of it, they can find comfort in the fact that a pillar of support, their peers, is available to them in their school setting. The High School programs advocate and raise awareness about mental illness not only for themselves but for every student and individual in their community who may experience or be affected by mental illness at some point.

Why Join the High School Program?

  • The High School Program enables prevention and early intervention by helping students talk about mental illness today to prevent crises later.
  • Your club will receive a $500 grant for the purpose of funding activities related to the High School Program
  • You will be provided with a range of educational and club promotional materials
  • Your club will be offered mental health trainings and educational opportunities
  • You will be invited to the High School Program annual student summit in which all club members come together to hear from leaders in the field of mental illness and share their club stories with each other
  • The High School Program headquarters will arrange for speakers to come to club meetings or school presentations.
  • The High School Program headquarters will inform you of of upcoming events in your area.

What is the Research Component?

Building from preliminary research, BC2M has partnered with an outstanding research team from the University of California, Berkeley to further assess and confirm the effectiveness and overall impact of the High School Program pilot program. Leading this in-depth evaluation are the world-renowned researchers, and experts in their fields, Dr. Stephen Hinshaw, Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley and Dr. Bennett Leventhal, M.D. from the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.

Researcher's Background

Stephen Hinshaw, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, where he served as Department Chair from 2004-2011, and is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at University of California, San Francisco.  He is the most recent recipient of the James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award for a lifetime of outstanding contributions to applied Psychological research.

In addition to directing summer research camps and conducted longitudinal studies for children with ADHD and related disorders, having received over $14 million in NIH funding, Hinshaw has authored over 225 articles, chapters, and reviews plus 7 books. He is editor of Psychological Bulletin, the most cited journal in the field of general psychology, and is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, the American Psychological Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).  He received the Distinguished Scientific Contribution in Psychology Award from the California State Psychological Association (2009) and the Distinguished Teaching Award, College of Letters and Sciences, UC Berkeley (2001).

Bennett Leventhal, M.D. is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. Dr. Leventhal is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in both General Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and a Distinguished Life Fellow of both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Dr. Leventhal has been a leader in national and regional efforts to promote children’s mental health research and to create comprehensive, cutting-edge systems of care for children’s mental health. His efforts have led to the creation of outstanding clinical research programs that have developed and shaped scientific approaches to the study of early emerging childhood disorders.

Dr. Leventhal is the recipient of numerous awards, including the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 50th Anniversary Distinguished Service Medal and the Edithe J. Levitt Award for Distinguished Service from the National Board of Medical Examiners.

Looking Ahead

In the fall of 2015, the first year of the High School Program’s two-year pilot phase launched with over 500 students from 25 high schools in eight Bay Area counties. Of these schools, 20 are being evaluated as part of the research component to ensure that the program is creating effective and measurable change. For the 2016 – 2017 school year, BC2M plans to grow the program to include 50 schools with 40 clubs participating in the evaluation. Once the pilot phase is completed, BC2M will expand the tested and approved High School program beyond California. Eventually, this program will exist nationwide creating unprecedented change in mental health awareness and stigma reduction at the youth level. Additionally, BC2M plans to expand the research component in order to more fully understand what works, and why it works, at the high school level. This will incentivize school-wide mental health discussions on campuses with the High School Programs and beyond, and will allow for BC2M to study and tailor the program to ensure even greater success.

In the fall of 2016, BC2M hosted the First Annual High School Program Student Summit at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, CA. This all-day event brought together club members from across the Bay Area, and offered them the opportunity to share their club experiences, participate in knowledge building workshops, and further fuel the excitement and motivation that has already evolved from this unique club initiative.

Since the program’s launch, the High School Program members have sparked educated, and much needed, peer conversations around mental health and stigma within both the schools and the communities. This inspiring work highlights how the High School Programs are quickly becoming the nucleus of student-driven efforts addressing the topic of mental illness among teens.

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