How to Support Today’s Youth In Crisis
Today’s youth need us. Lance, a Youth Development Coach in New York, tells us why.
Lance Davis is a Youth Development Coach for young adults living in New York City and Westchester. Along with running empowerment groups, workshops, and job readiness curriculums to help youth build skills to apply for jobs, Lance trains new youth development staff on how to properly support youth. He joined us in Central Park to discuss how supporting fundraisers like Cycle of Support helps youth throughout our city.
Mental health is the first step to being a strong, resilient individual.
Today’s youth are battling isolation, depression, bullying in schools, and the inability to express their wants and needs. They’re not being heard and lack outlets for self expression. Simply put, kids are struggling with support.
Youth who aren’t supported often run away, making them prone to criminal activities, violent gang culture, or sexual behaviors that can lead to human trafficking. This stems from youth wanting to feel included, to be loved and accepted, to be supported. We need to decrease the stigma and prevent incarcerations with youth.
What should everyone know about mental health?
Mental health is serious — it’s right here in front of all our faces. People we are close to are probably dealing with mental health issues; supporting everyone each step of the way is essential.
Also, everyone has mental health and that includes kids. They go through problems just like adults do. So, if you get support from a young age, you’ll be able to manage your mental health and live a stable, resilient life as you grow older.
How are youth responding to treatment centers today?
Our support groups have grown since last year — each session is bigger than the last. We provide peer support for every single youth who seeks it. Youth need support today more than ever. We can prevent youth from being homeless and living in unsafe risky environments by providing that support early in their development.
What do treatment centers do to help youth?
In the residential programs and counseling centers I work with, youth get to express themselves how they want and need to. In our LGBTQ and ally support groups, we share our pronouns and discuss health disparities and real issues youth are facing today. We also provide trauma therapy and one to one mentorship. Overall, our goal is to create safe, open spaces by seeing these growing individuals for who they are.
How do initiatives like Cycle of Support help youth?
Fundraisers like Cycle of Support help us meet these evergrowing needs by hiring more youth development staff and creating more inclusive services and open spaces for youth to visit. In short, we need the money for more services. We need the money to help those who can’t help themselves. We want to tell every kid, there’s a whole road ahead of you, and this is just the beginning.
What does listening without judgment look like?
At the end of the day, a person wants to be heard and seen for who they are. We come from a desire to partner and collaborate with youth. So listening without judgment means acknowledging their strengths, empowering and validating them. It’s reminding them that everything is a learning process. No one can tell you how to ‘do your life’, but if you keep trying, you’ll get better in time.
How can individuals help a youth in crisis?
When you see a youth in need, first, don’t panic–Be patient as you figure out what to do.
Second, research everything–Services, hotlines, and providers.
Lastly, use a lifeline–Dial a friend and ask someone, maybe a family member, who’s likely been in a similar situation for support.
I encourage people to be open-minded to new ideas and changes, so we can all see where we each stand in this cycle of support — we’re all connected.
About Cycle of Support
1 in 10 youth has a mental or behavioral health problem that impacts their lives at home and at school. On September 15th, let’s ride to change that.
Children’s mental health impacts all of us — every community, every school, and every family is touched by it in some way. You can join hundreds of New Yorkers at Cycle of Support to make a difference to kids in need.
Kids face mental health challenges just as grownups do: anxiety, depression, mood disorders, autism, attention deficit disorders, and more. There are countless kids in need of support.
Cycle of Support is a half day charity event whose proceeds fund a broad range of mental health programs for kids in New York City and Westchester. The ride is designed for teams, families, and individuals alike to experience a great cycling course while helping kids have healthier childhoods.
We hope you’ll join our ride — and the cause.