Youth Committee Changes

Part of CMHACY’s mission has always been to uplift the voices of parents, families, and youth. In 2004 the groundbreaking youth-lead mental health organization Youth In Mind (YIM) was incepted as a part of our conference – in partnership with United Advocates for Children and Families (UACF) and youth leadership development expert Jamie Lee Evans. Since then, YIM coordinated a growing youth leadership collaboration with CMHACY’s board. Young people worked in partnership with other youth agencies through this committee, with coordination and technical assistance by our youth advocate representatives with the Board of Directors (members and friends). As Youth In Mind grew in our pre-conference track, they increasingly integrated into the larger conference and shared planning, supporting engagement, outreach, support, and programming for our Tuesday and Wednesday pre-conferences, plenaries, workshops, and social activities.

In 2017, Youth In Mind’s youth leadership body evolved their annual Youth Leadership Academy outside of the conference and took the model on the road. While YIM no longer provides the primary youth voice support for our organization, YIM youth leaders and staff provide support to the CMHACY Youth Committee which is facilitated by our newly elected youth Board of Directors member – Calla Peltier-Olson.

The CMHACY Youth Committee, includes representation from each of the organizations from the No Stigma No Barriers Collaborative (Youth In Mind, Young Minds Advocacy, PEERS, and California Youth Connection), California Youth Empowerment Network (CAYEN), Gender and Sexualities Alliance (GSA) Network, Humboldt Transition Age Youth Collaboration (HCTAYC) and various other friends and staff of CMHACY.

The CMHACY Youth Committee collaboratively plans a wide range of opportunities for youth to develop their leadership and advocacy skills – including supporting youth-to-youth rapport and movement building, creative advocacy techniques, youth-lead conversations on SUD issues, and policy-focused workshops and panels. The Youth Committee has a strong focus on mental health innovation, as well as growing opportunities for programming within the field of substance misuse and abuse services.

The CMHACY Youth Committee always welcomes new participants, and is dedicated to fostering diversity in members, perspective, and organizations. If you are interested in participating in the Youth Committee – please send an email to with an introduction that details your preferred name, contact information, experience, organization (if any), and why you want to join.

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