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Teens share wellness message during Empower Youth discussion in Goleta

GOLETA, Calif. – The South Coast Youth Safety Partnership (SCYSP), CommUnify and local city leaders offered a youth empowerment discussion for the community in Goleta.

Teens across Santa Barbara County took time out of their classes to be part of the summit.

“I’ve experienced a lot of mental health concerns myself. I’ve been around people who had a lot of mental health issues and I want to make a difference in it," said student Gabrielle Terzian of Middle College Alternative High School.

During the summit, Terzian is one of several teens who shared concerns over the health and wellness among youths in the community.

"I feel like parents should be talking to kids to know what’s going on their lives because no one really knows what’s going on in their lives unless you ask them. And I feel like someone asking them can help get some of that stress out," said student Karla Corona of Fesler Junior High School.

Agencies including CommUnify, Santa Barbara County and the cities of Carpinteria, Santa Barbara and Goleta highlighted how adversity can lead to toxic stress in a child’s life. 

"And later unhealthy outcomes ... part of the conversation will be talking about how healthy outcomes come from positive experiences," said program manager Steven De Lira of CommUnify.

During this summit, several resources were on hand for students including AHA, Freedom4Youth and Youth Well.

"This is important because we hear about how mental health is an issue. It’s OK to not be OK and it’s OK to ask for help," said De Lira.

“And so if I say, I’m having problems with depression, I feel sad. I feel hopeless … people don’t always take it seriously anymore," said Terzian.

“And so as we start today’s conversation, hopefully, it’s not just the beginning, but it’s a continuance of the conversation of our mental wellness," said De Lira.

Leaders of SCYSP hope to improve support, safety and quality of life for youth, families, and the community.

Empower Youth: Inspiring Positive Paths Forward was on Thursday, May 23, 2024 from 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. at Goleta Valley Community Center, 5679 Hollister Avenue in Goleta.

For more information on mental health resources, visit:
Article Topic Follows: Be Mindful
Be Mindful
Santa Barbara

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Patricia Martellotti

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