California’s youth is experiencing a mental health crisis. They can solve it themselves

How can we better address the mental health crisis among California’s youth?

By empowering young people to solve it themselves.

That’s exactly what Gonzalez (pop. 8,600) is doing in Monterey County. Since early 2020, middle and high school students—members of the Gonzalez Youth Council, a parallel city council—have been developing a mental health strategy for their community with such potential that it was recently published in a peer-reviewed journal. .

Not surprisingly, this is happening in Gonzales, a marvel in the Salinas Valley of autonomy with a working-class population that is 90 percent Latino and one-third under the age of 18. Over the past generation, the city has prioritized public participation and youth empowerment. In solving society’s problems – dubbed strategy Gonzales Road. In the process, Gonzalez made remarkable advances in everything from Economic growth to me energy independence And won National awards for community health programmes.

The Gonzalez Youth Council—a body chosen by students from sixth to twelfth grade—has real power, which it has used to write local laws on underage drinking, assist police-community relations efforts and engage in recruitment in local schools.

Back in the fall of 2019, the Youth Council Commissioners decided to focus their energies on mental health. When the pandemic hit, they accelerated their plans.

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