According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 17% of youth between the ages of 6-17 experience a mental health disorder. Recently we sat down for our very first Round Table Talk with Jeff Levin, Life Coach, and Justice John Broderick, Former Chief Justice of NH Supreme Court, to discuss the importance of mental health awareness and what it means to reconnect with our youth.
“I didn’t see mental illness for what it was in my own family. But because of that and my own ignorance, when given the opportunity some years later to get involved in a campaign to reach out and help others understand what I didn’t, that’s what got me going,” shares Broderick.
Broderick would eventually cross paths with Levin and connect over mental health initiatives through The Reconnection Project. “We needed some kind of model that would increase students’ mental health. I’ve watched the cultural changes slowly erode their sense of joy and freedom … they no longer have the passport to success and joy and connection that we all were granted without even thinking about it,” stresses Levin.
As champions of mental health, we were eager to ask both advocates why they felt they connected with youth so well, and how they sparked connections. Broderick eagerly shared that “the forces on these kids are very different than when we grew up.” Broderick also spoke of the gratitude students express over his candid, transparent style after working with him.
Some of the techniques that Levin and Broderick use to connect with youth include: music, incorporating active listening, limiting or removing technological distractions, and creating safe spaces where youth can fully express themselves.
“This is a powerful video to raise awareness of mental health, especially in youth. The Genesis Think Tank is certainly important in this as they consider the ultimate health and success of our state,” exclaims Anne Warner Executive Director of Excellence North Alliance
“It’s not okay to pretend you’re okay,” advises Broderick. When speaking of challenges the pair face, Broderick shared the negative influence of virtual worlds and the challenge of accommodating this century with values they grew up with; reconnecting kids, families, and communities to those. “Half of all kids in high school do not feel important to any adult in their community.” He sadly stated.
The Reconnection Project is a three-tiered approach in schools throughout NH involving faculty/teachers, parents, and students, aiming to preserve student mental health by helping them to feel less scared, anxious, and depressed while giving them a passport for joy by engaging all parts of each tier.
Get in touch with us to share your triumph story with Levin and Broderick or reach out to learn about our next Round Table Talk. Again, we hope you’ll take the time to view this important video- Round Table Talk. The mental health of you or someone you love, could depend on it.