Community Notebook: Palo Alto alumni organize mental health dialogue

Paly grads put together community event for Saturday, June 27

Two Palo Alto High School graduates are hoping to bring more alumni into the community conversation about teen mental health by hosting an "open dialogue" event on Saturday, June 27.

Christina Chen, Paly class of 2013, and Jessica Brooks, class of 2009, hope the event will "connect alumni of the high schools, who are outside of the current student population but still invested, with people who are currently in the community and currently taking action," Brooks wrote in an email.

Despite the focus on alumni, the organizers stressed that anyone is welcome to participate. Representatives from the Palo Alto school board, local grassroots teen well-being group Save the 2,008 and state and national mental health organizations will be attending, including the National Alliance on Mental Illness, they said.

The event will begin with moderated small group discussions followed by guided "root cause analysis" discussions and ideas for resources and solutions. Discussion topics will include social stigma, suicide prevention, academic stress and the relationship between social identities (especially race) and mental health, Brooks said.

There will also be an optional networking session starting at 3 p.m., and representatives from groups currently engaged in addressing teen mental health will be present to connect with participants and continue the conversation.

"We hope to gather many different perspectives, and provide a space for people to listen and learn," a Facebook description for the event reads.

The event will run from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Mitchell Park Community Center's Adobe Room, at 3700 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. The optional networking session will be from 3 to 3:30 p.m. Anyone who is out of the area and unable to attend in person can participate virtually via Skype or Google Hangout.

For more information and to RSVP, go to this Facebook page.

The Palo Alto Weekly has created a Storify page to capture the numerous voices, opinions and our news coverage on teen well-being. This page will continue to be updated. To view it, go to

Update, June 26: Due to greater-than-expected RSVPs, organizers have moved the event to the Adobe Room at Mitchell Park Community Center.

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1 person likes this
Posted by Sarah1000
a resident of Los Altos
on Jun 22, 2015 at 1:06 pm

Thank you Christina and Jessica for organizing this event. Many of us who are advocating for improvements in mental healthcare in Santa Clara County are not "natives" to technology. I, for one, know my efforts in that arena are bumbling at best. (I post suicide prevention info on Instagram and connect individual users to help where they live but there must be a better way. I actually went to the new Facebook campus and left a note asking for help but to no avail.) Could one of the discussion groups on Saturday address suicide prevention and social media? Thanks! Sarah

Like this comment
Posted by Stan Herrmann
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 25, 2015 at 11:27 am

Hi my name is Stan Herrmann.
I have been developing an on-line anxiety reduction program for over a year. Up to this point this project has been a labor of love and now I am very eager to take it to the next level. The current focus is helping college students, however if successful at the age level, I would pursue the option for a younger demographic.

I have launched a Kickstarter page so I can hopefully continue this worthwhile endeavor. This project is a non-profit organization.

Please follow this link to watch the video and read all about it.
Web Link

Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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