Youth & Family Initiative for a Healthy Community
Supporting Our Youth
The Mental Health Association of Fauquier County believes that supporting our children and youth is vitally important for a healthy community. We do this by helping them build self-esteem, coping skills, and problem-solving skills and identifying young people who are struggling and getting them immediate help.
The Youth & Family Initiative’s goals are to:
1) Decrease stigma and increase early identification of youth at risk of mental health problems or addiction through comprehensive awareness campaign
2) Implement evidence-based Prevention Programs
3) Increase availability of and access to treatment services
4) Support parents in dealing with mental health and substance use issues
5) Engage young people in recognizing signs of distress and reaching out to support peers who may be struggling with mental health or substance use challenges.
Did you know?
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in youth
of mental health issues
begin by age 14;
75% by age 24
of youth in Fauquier
have had symptoms
local youth use drugs
at least 3x per week and are
at risk of addiction
Youth and Family Initiative Overview
The Youth and Family Initiative has progressed through these stages of research, planning, and implementation:
- 2019 PRIDE Survey conducted in FCPS, RCPS and Highland School in Sept. 2019 – 6,011 respondents
- 2019 Community Dialogue for Youth Voices, bringing together students from public and private schools in Fauquier & Rappahannock to discuss mental wellness and substance use.
- Community Dialogue on Mental Health and Substance Use held in April 2016 – 90+ participants
- Recommendations from Dialogue in four goal areas
- Additional goals added to address the opioid epidemic specifically
- Work teams formed for each goal
- Mental Health School Coalition, facilitated by Mental Health Association, is coordinating body for the work of the teams
Organizations/individuals involved to date in the Initiative Work Teams:
Mental Health Association of Fauquier County (facilitator)
Arc of North Central Virginia
Boys and Girls Club of Fauquier County
Center for Holistic Psychotherapy
Children’s Services (CSA)
Chrysalis Counseling Center
Come As You Are Coalition (CAYA)
Department of Juvenile Justice
Faith community representatives
Fauquier County Public Schools
Fauquier Department of Social Services
Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office
Piedmont Dispute Resolution Center
Rappahannock County Public Schools
Rappahannock Rapidan Community Services
Verdun Adventure Bound
Virginia Cooperative Extension (4-H)
Community Dialogue for Youth Voices
In November 2019, the Mental Health Association hosted a Community Dialogue for Youth Voices. This all-day program brought teams of students from all middle and high schools within Fauquier County Public Schools, Rappahannock County Public Schools, and Highland School together to learn about behavioral health issues. We presented the latest findings from the 2019 PRIDE Survey the Association conducted last fall and allowed students to create plans to address a mental health or substance use issue within their own school. We ended the day with motivational speaker, Darryl Bellamy, who spoke with students about going from “Fearful to Fearless” as they work to contribute meaningfully to their community. Many teams took the ideas they developed at the Dialogue back to their schools to work on creating a healthier environment for all students.
Mini Grants to Middle and High Schools
As part of our Community Dialogue for Youth Voices, the Mental Health Association partnered with the Come As You Are Coalition to offer mini grants to student teams who needed funding to carry out their ideas. Here is a list of our 2020 grantees:
• Auburn Middle School: $500
• Highland School: $332
• Kettle Run High School: $337
• Marshall Middle School: $600
• Taylor Middle School: $300
• Warrenton Middle School: $500
To learn more about each of their exciting projects, download our Summary of Mini Grant Awards.
Teen Mental Health First Aid
In 2019, the Mental Health Association and Fauquier County Public Schools co-authored an application to be considered as a pilot site for a new evidence-informed program called Teen Mental Health First Aid. This program, developed specifically for youth in 10th-12th grades, teaches students how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders among their friends and peers. The training gives students the skills to have supportive conversations with their friends and get a responsible and trusted adult to take over as necessary.
Fauquier High School was 1 of 35 pilot sites selected to pilot Teen Mental Health First Aid, in large part due to the overwhelming number of people that have been trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid in our community (1,600 and counting!). The tenth graders at FHS have been enjoying this curriculum, and we hope to expand the initiative to more local high schools in the near future!