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Headshots for members of the 2022-23 Young Leaders Council
by Kelly Davis, MHA Vice President of Peer and Youth Advocacy

Since launching in 2017, Mental Health America’s youth leadership programs have inspired and empowered more than 100 outstanding young mental health leaders. As part of their work, members have appeared in The New York Times and Teen Vogue, gained leadership opportunities with UNICEF and the White House, worked with the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and National Academies of Science, and met with state and federal legislators, among other accomplishments.

Applications for our 2023-2024 Young Leaders Council (YLC) cohort are now open, and selected members receive many benefits – including speaking at MHA events, sharing their ideas in an annual report, and receiving one-on-one mentoring. But don’t take our word for it; below are five reasons to join the YLC from our 2022-2023 cohort.

1. Expand your network and leadership opportunities.

“I realized I am here to show compassion and love for others because we all struggle with mental health. Since joining the YLC, my work has doubled up with more opportunities with people around the world.” – Mariama Bah

2. Learn how to collaborate more effectively for change.

“I've been looking for more individuals who are committed to not just spreading awareness, but bringing real and sustainable change to their individual communities. My cohort has taught me so much about re-imagining organizing to be more sustainable and democratic for all.” – Crystal Widado

3. Get inspired and connected to peers.

“I was looking for and found a space where we all can be our authentic selves and talk about more than surface-level subjects. I learned from fellow leaders’ advocacy and was rejuvenated by the passion and compassion behind them.” – Savannah Frye

4. Expand your knowledge and understanding about intersectional mental health issues.

“I learned the importance of incorporating lived experiences into intersectional mental health advocacy, [shaping] my own advocacy work and reinvigorating my motivation.“ – Jose Caballero

5. Support your own mental health while supporting others.

“The best lesson I have learned from my fellow YLC members has been about prioritizing my own mental health and well-being as an advocate and leader. We have been able to foster and encourage kindness and consideration for one another as advocates.” – Jill King

Would you or someone you know would be a great fit? Share this year’s application and apply today.

Applications are due by Friday, Aug. 4, 2023.   
Selected applicants will be notified by Sept. 8.

Questions? Email Jackie Menjivar, MHA’s manager of peer and youth advocacy, at