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Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Week Virtual Conference – Youth Track

May 2, 2022 @ 12:30 pm - 5:30 pm


Join us on May 2nd for our Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Week Virtual Conference!

Previously called Children’s Mental Health “Awareness”, in 2022 we’re changing the “A” to Acceptance. This significant shift to “acceptance” speaks more directly to our goal to eliminate bias and discrimination that individuals with a mental illness diagnosis or symptoms experience. We believe the term acceptance more directly combats prejudice. Mental health exists on a spectrum and almost everyone experiences challenges at some point in their life. Recognizing that our mental health is just as important as our physical health and accepting individuals who struggle for a period – or a lifetime – is critical to reducing the fear, worry, blame, and shame that families and their loved ones experience – and increases the likelihood that those who are in need will seek te support and treatment they deserve.

Conference Agenda

12:30 – 1:45  / Sharing Your Story – AJourney in Ownership, Building Community and Reducing Stigma
Presented by: Kevin Segal, Markus Perry, Elias Peirce, Saras Yerlig, PIER Program Speakers’ Bureau

There is much value in encouraging youth and young adults to have open conversation about mental health and challenging life experiences. Join us to hear from a group of young adults and peer support specialists who speak publicly about their mental health and have learned that in doing so it has helped with owning their own narratives, allow them to grow as individuals and to build community among people with share experiences. In this presentation, youth and young adults will learn considerations when preparing to speak publicly about your mental health experiences, what ideas you might include and strategies for reflecting and debriefing after sharing your story. To be oneself and be seen as oneself can be a form of healing and transformation.

2:00 – 2:15 / I’m Worried About My Mental Health – What Should I do?
Presented by: Izetta Story, Maine’s System of Care Steering Committee Youth Member
Are you feeling alone? Concerned about your mental wellbeing? We all need support throughout our lives and building a group of supports is essential in maintaining good wellbeing. Please, join me as I share the important message of you are not alone, who can help me, and when to ask for help. We are all in this together.

2:30 – 3:45 / Centering Youth Voice in Treatment Planning
Presented by: Katrina Ringrose, Advocacy Director, Disability Rights Maine; Maggie Bouchard and Christopher Buysse, Youth Peer Support Partners, Youth Peer Support Statewide Network
Empowering young people to engage in treatment begins with ensuring their voice is heard and valued in decisions that impact their lives. In order to meaningfully do this, we must make youth feel like they belong in spaces where their needs are discussed and that their contributions matter. This is not only their Right, it achieves better outcomes. Presenters will share practical ways adults can genuinely partner with youth through very “adult-centric” processes and incorporate strategies to develop self-determination and decision making skills. Also, learn more about Maine’s Youth Peer Support services and the Rights youth have when receiving treatment.

4:00 – 5:30 / Introducing Transformative Justice to Youth
Presented by: Bruce King (Co-Executive Director), Darryl Shepherd (Project Facilitator and Transformative Justice Lead), and Adan Abdi (Project Facilitator), Maine Inside Out
There has been a push for Restorative Practices in recent years as a means to create alternative sentencing possibilities around legal infractions. This usually sees facilitators stepping in resulting from referrals from system contacts. However, how do we address harms that have not risen to the level of system intervention? When conflict is escalating but have not resulted in anything that requires immediate disciplinary action, how do we utilize similar principles to create a more receptive and cohesive culture? Transformative Justice is an approach to creating a safe culture through teaching kids to conquer conflict with deep listening and careful response to harm that they may embody and practice actively.


May 2, 2022
12:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Event Category:


Go-To Meeting
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G.E.A.R. Parent Network
(800) 264-9224
View Organizer Website