The pressures placed on parents are enormous, like ensuring their children have their necessities while also relearning algebra and the latest TikTok challenge. Youth are not only facing the usual growing pains that come with adolescence, like peer pressure and puberty but doing so in a racially polarizing and digitally influenced environment. For many, the pandemic exacerbated feelings of loneliness, isolation, anxiety, and depression. That is why the Ad Council, in partnership with Pivotal Venture, teamed up with Black Girls Smile to launch the Sound It Out campaign.
The Sound It Out campaign encourages Black and Latinx youth and caregivers to break the cycle of mental health stigma by using music to facilitate a dialogue on emotional well-being.
Earlier this month, BGS' Executive Director Lauren Carson participated in a virtual community discussion hosted by Sarah Jakes Roberts with panelists Touré Roberts and Dr. Alfiee Breland-Noble on the current mental health crisis plaguing Black and Latinx families.
Carson opened the event by discussing her on-the-ground mental health advocacy observations while working with young Black women and girls.
"…This is a timely conversation. A lot of statistics have come out recently because we’ve seen a renewed or new focus on youth mental health, and specifically minority or marginalized communities' mental health and well-being. And the statistics are staggering—we are losing young people. We know that young people are struggling with their mental health and well-being, whether that's coping skills, peer conflict, social media impact," explains Carson.
Parents and caregivers play a crucial role in providing safe spaces for exchanges about mental health. So, the mental well-being of guardians and caregivers requires the utmost attention.
"Changing that conversation to talking about family mental health and how parents and caregivers can contribute to the overall well-being of their young people is really important. But also starting to navigate these kinds of conversations from an early intervention or prevention side," describes Carson.
Carson also recommended changing the mental health models from treatment-focused ideology to early prevention.
"For too long now, the behavioral health and mental health community has worked in this treatment and recovery area," says Carson. "And the more we can focus on early intervention... accessing resources on the prevention side will help alleviate some of the longevity and severity of some of the mental health issues that young people are experiencing."
Black communities must begin to invest in their mental health and refrain from seeing it as a luxury.
"We're starting to see a shift, but we've got to make sure that, in a positive and healthy way, we continue down this track of normalizing conversations around mental health and well-being, '' emphasizes Carson.
Here are some calls to action that will assist in your mental health journey:
Advocating for yourself
Seeking the surmounting resources available like Black Girls Smile
Normalizing healthy mental healthcare
Honoring emotions and experiences
Acknowledging feelings, emotions, and experiences
Adopting healthy coping skills
To view the entire conversation.
Learn more about Sound It Out.