positive multiethnic team of students standing with books

Youth Initiatives

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is now the 2nd leading cause of death among youth and adults ages 10-34 years of age. The CDC also reports that 1 in 3 adolescents report symptoms of “chronic sadness” or anxiety.

Youth mental health is a focal point for Mental Health Matters of Washington. As such, we work with youth from different communities and groups in Western Washington to create youth programming and activities that support youth mental health.

Vision: Our goal is to break the stigma that surrounds mental health and mental illness through health education and community engagement. We strive to create supportive spaces and opportunities for youth in communities across Washington to learn about and discuss mental health and well-being in contexts that are relative to them. We also connect youth and their caregivers to the resources and support they need to thrive.

Goals: Childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood are key stages of life that shape one’ ability to recognize and to cope with mental health condition in adulthood. For that reason, there is a dire need to improve access to and quality of mental health information, support, and care during formative years.

Youth-Driven Strategies

The MHM of WA Youth Advisory Group and youth Peer Mental Health Navigators lead our youth programming and initiatives.

Who better to contribute to activities and strategies that involve and benefit youth than youth themselves! Youth have wisdom and intersectional viewpoints to share. For this reason, we collaborate with our Mental Health Matters Youth Advisory Group to help address relevant topics and activities that best serve youth across the region.

Recent Activities/News

Youth PMHNs Present at Community Conference

In July 2022, our MHM Youth Group Leader and Research Assistant, Annika Sahota, along with youth Peer Mental Health Navigator, Emilio Pena, participated with MHM of WA Co-Director, Sandra Huber and youth mental health experts in a virtual community workshop that is featured in Providence Institute’s for a Healthier Community (PIHC) upcoming Edge of Amazing virtual conference. The title of the workshop is, “Strong, Heard & Resilient: Supporting the Wellness of Young People” and features a panel that discusses ways communities can invest in the mental health of youth. To learn more about the conference and this workshop, you can go to the EoA website HERE.

Annika and Emilio shared perspectives about youth experiences during the pandemic, mental health challenges, and ideas for ways state organizations, non-profits, schools, and mental health providers can best support youth.

Photo: Snapshot of the panelists part of the virtual workshop on youth mental health featured at PIHC’s Edge of Amazing virtual conference.

Youth PMHNs in the News

Peer Mental Health Navigator, Bruno Flores, and our Mental Health Matters of Washington peer-to-peer model is featured on Seattle’s King5 News!

Youth Advisory Group Facilitates Youth Circles to Talk about Factors that Impact Youth Mental Health

Currently, our Youth Advisory Group, led by Annika Sahota, is hosting virtual and in-person dialogues with youth around the region to learn more about their insights on mental health and suggest strategies and priorities for our MHM Youth Initiatives. These will wrap-up in September 2022.

Our Youth Advisory Group

Youth Advisory Group Leader
Youth Advisory Group Leader


Annika Sahota (she/her/ella) is the program manager and research assistant for Mental Health Matters of Washington. Through the youth division, she hopes to help empower young individuals to become involved with mental health promotion and begin recognizing the role cultural humility plays in addressing sensitive topics surrounding mental wellness in children and adolescents. Annika also hopes to use this opportunity to help youth recognize the importance of advocacy in healthcare and provide mentorship to youth who are wishing to participate in or study evidence-based community health intervention practices.

Youth Advisory Group

*Yakin Ali

*Bruno Flores

*Mehr Grewal

*Emilio Pena

*Calvin Trinh

*Monica Vorn

Are you a youth, between the ages of 13-24, who is interested in mental health and participating on our Youth Advisory Team? Email us at Info@MentalHealthMattersWA.com!