Welcome to May Menta Health Community Challenge!

You have surely been amazed – as have we – with the resiliency that children and teenagers have demonstrated during the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, in many cases, young people are the ones guiding us on how to reframe the language and taboos around mental health. They are educating us on social media. They are organizing to request more resources in their schools. They are even fundraising to make sure mental health services are available for all. Just this past year, groups at UNC and at an elementary school in Cary hosted food sales to raise funds for El Futuro.

Children and adolescents want to feel safe, happy, and whole and they are doing the best they can to navigate the pandemic and all of its challenges. However, professionals who work with children are seeing higher-than-ever rates of anxiety, depression and fear. Our physician partners have told us that the number one pediatric referral for children and adolescents right now is for psychological support. This is what we see at El Futuro also: an alarming increase in adolescent cries for help through self-harm, anxiety disorders, and higher rates of destructive problems.

The good news is that when adolescents and their families have access to timely, culturally-sensitive mental health care, we can help to prevent acute crises from transforming into chronic, life-long illnesses.

That is why we are launching our Community Challenge fundraiser this May – because the community – you! – have told us that you’re concerned about children and adolescents and asked us what you can do about it. By joining us during this campaign you are helping us to not only raise $100,000 during the month of May to provide youth mental health services at El Futuro, but also to spread knowledge and inspiration to decrease stigma around mental health. We are so grateful for your support in expanding access for mental health support for youth.