OLA To Hold Youth Summit on Emotional & Mental Health

OLA of Eastern Long Island will hold its first-ever Youth Summit for young people ages 14 to 22 on Monday, Aug. 15 at the Bridgehampton Community House, 2368 Montauk Hwy, from 6 to 9:30 p.m.

All are welcome to this summit, organized by the longtime Latino advocacy group, which will take place in both Spanish and English, is free to all, and is limited to this age group.

The summit’s focus is on adolescent emotional and mental health and access to emotional and mental health care. OLA intern Emily Lupercio, an East Hampton resident and political science major at SUNY Geneseo, is organizing this event along with OLA Executive Director Minerva Perez.

 “This summit is not just for Latinx youth but for all interested local young people to have the opportunity to share what they are going through and what changes they would like to see. We will soon be releasing the results of a bilingual youth mental health survey we conducted last year, which indicate to us that there is a need to approach mental health care access for young people in a different, more integrated way,” says Ms. Perez.

“Our voices need to be heard,” said Ms. Lupercio. “I’m looking forward to co-facilitating this summit and to hearing from my peers of all different backgrounds. Regardless of where our families are from, we all have concerns we need to express related to emotional health.”

As part of work OLA initiated a few years ago to improve mental health care provision on the East End, the organization will convene up to 30 local teens and young adults so that they have the opportunity to air their concerns and experiences in a safe environment and help set the agenda for the action they would like to see.

OLA’s connections to health care facilities, doctors’ offices, private therapists, relevant local nonprofit agencies, and elected officials ensure that the concerns of participants reach stakeholders and policy makers.

Participants will discuss what, from their perspective, is lacking, what their needs are, what resources currently exist, where accountability lies, and what solutions might look like.

They will then produce an Action and Accountability Statement that OLA will present to various institutions. OLA will invite youth participants to be present at subsequent meetings with stakeholders and/or policy makers. The summit will end with a dinner.

OLA is building on what it has learned and continues to learn from youth and this fall will launch a new program centered on an anonymous, bilingual youth-focused crisis counseling textline and outreach related to the importance of emotional and mental health care.

Interested youth should please call 631.899.3441 to reserve their spot. Space limited to 30 participants and this event is free.

More information is online here: https://2022-Youth-Summit-OLA.eventbrite.com

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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