What Can Young Change Makers Do?
for Youth Change Makers
…Language gives us the power to change ourselves and others by communicating our experiences, helping us to define what we know, and finding a common sense of meaning…Bessel Van Der Kolk
Young people living with depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide often don’t get the help they need. This is especially difficult for BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and rural youth who experience disparities in access to quality care or are faced with care that is not tailored to their needs and reality.
You can help change that! The power to transform yourself and your community already lives within you. You are already a leader, whether you know it or believe it. Your own story is your most powerful tool for inspiring change, and you can harness it to help your peers and your community. With some new perspective, tools and confidence you can tap your own leadership potential and contribute to a world where mental wellbeing is a reality for everyone.
Being a Young Leader and Advocate
There is a common misconception that you must earn a degree, get special training or have a fancy job to be a leader. However, you are an expert of your own lived experience and your voice has the power to motivate and guide others. Use these resources to learn more about your leadership style and creating a vision for change.
Telling Your Story of Lived Experience
Your first-hand experience as a young person gives you unique wisdom about what young people need to heal and thrive. Your story can be your most powerful tool to help people understand what is necessary to make real change. Use these resources to craft your story and motivate others to act.
Motivating Others with Your Voice of Experience
Your story of lived experience with mental health challenges can illuminate the change that needs to occur to improve youth mental wellbeing in your community. Learn strategies for strategically sharing your story of lived experience in our Motivating Others with Your Voice of Lived Experience handout.
Crafting Your Advocacy Message
Your story of lived experience is a powerful tool that can convince others to join your cause. Our Crafting Your Advocacy Message handout is designed to help you create an impactful message that inspires commitment and action.
Working as a Team
Collaborating in teams can help us understand different perspectives, identify solutions to challenges and innovate for change. Great teams have a shared vision for change, know and rely on each other’s unique strengths and encourage healthy conflict. Use these resources to build strong teams that are inclusive, authentic and mission-driven.
Setting Goals and Measurable Objectives
Develop SMARTIE goals and objectives to help clarify focus and hold accountability. Use the Creating SMARTIE Goals & Objectives Worksheet to begin planning your goals.
Mapping Things That Matter
When calling for change, identifying and mapping relationships, influencers and audiences can provide helpful information that can shape your messages and strategies and help you reach your goals. Read the Mapping Things That Matter handout to learn more.
The Power of Listening and Asking the Right Questions
Active listening is hearing the significance of the message being communicated and responding with intentional inquiry. Learn how to hone these skills in The Power of Listening and Asking the Right Questions.
Turning Conflict into Connection
At the heart of most ambitious transformations lie crucial conversations, those that have high stakes, opposing opinions and strong emotions. Learn how to navigate challenging conversations in this Turning Conflict Into Connection.
Idea Planning Worksheet
The Idea Planning Worksheet is designed to help you take an idea for a new project, product, or strategy to action. It guides you through a thoughtful and comprehensive approach to strategizing a plan for implementing your idea.
This website was created as a part of CONNECTED, a two-year initiative aimed at reducing youth anxiety, depression and suicide in underserved communities through meaningful youth-adult partnerships. CONNECTED was made possible by funding from a private venture philanthropist and strategic partnerships with Change Matrix, Michigan Public Health Institute, Relias, Watauga Consulting, and Youth MOVE National. For questions, please contact Julia Schreiber at JuliaS@TheNationalCouncil.org.