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 Storify.com.