Youth In Mind

Inspiring youth engagement and leadership development within mental health systems

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Youth In Mind (YIM) is a statewide nonprofit empowerment and advocacy organization, making change from the grassroots. YIM consists of young people affected by mental health, ages 12-28, promoting positive change through education, advocacy and collaboration. Please review the materials below to know more about us, what we’re up to, and hear from members first hand what Youth In Mind has enabled them to do.

Youth In Mind is interviewed by Youth Radio about mental health struggles and the role of social media…is it bad, or a tool for healing?

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Youth In Mind inspired its members to engage in Open Space Technology, a conference format that empowers the audience to participate in co-developing the agenda. Conference attendees use dialogue-based methods in order to have critical conversations about current issues. Please read our special product and what young people have to say: “How to Build the Leadership and Future of California’s Young Mental Health Consumers?

Youth In Mind members and supporters partnered with Orange Craze to speak out on what  psychiatric survivors, mental health consumers, and change agents are saying about what inspired them to do the work they do, what really works to heal mental health, and much, much more. Watch and hear their powerful voices!

If you’re interested in taking action with Youth In Mind, see below about our annual events, civic leadership opportunities and local actions:

Youth Leadership Academy (YLA):

Since 2004 Youth In Mind has partnered with the California Mental Health Advocates for Children and Youth (CMHACY), where hundreds of advocates, families, young people and decision makers interface in order to address critical issues California is facing in the Mental Health Field. The CMHACY Conference is the largest mental health conference in California, and has been strong for over 30 years. Youth In Mind’s inception was out of this conference, and we continue to partner with CMHACY and make noise about what young people are doing to create systems-change.

Attending our annual YLA, members get to join a youth dedicated space where they community build, learn vital skills and knowledge to take back to a local level, and gain opportunities to speak on policy issues to the larger conference. In addition to our YLA, there are many other chances to interface with the conference where young people can attend over 30 work shops, hear cutting edge keynotes, and attend substance-free social activities. CMHACY holds their conference annually at Asilomar, a conference retreat grounds in Pacific Grove.

Youth Leadership Summit (YLS):

Since 2006, Youth In Mind has put on an Annual Educational Institute where young people across the state attend our Summer Youth Leadership Summit (YLS). Youth In Mind’s YLS focuses on positive youth development practices, and empowers our members to develop and deliver workshops, plenaries, conferences and social events. Youth In Mind specializes in popular and experiential education, enabling members to build a better future for the mental health system.

Youth In Mind’s Steering Committee:

Starting Summer of 2012, Youth In Mind developed its first statewide volunteer structure. This is an intergenerational, member-driven body. This foundational structure is to enable interested supporters of Youth In Mind to learn civic leadership skills, conference planning, and Local development. As YIM moves forward, we our committed to empower our members leading Local development, our annual conferences, and visioning of the organization. Please download our Steering Committee Application if you’re interested in being a leader for Youth In Mind.

Youth In Mind Local:

In 2010, Youth In Mind members started developing Locals where members are taking what they learn and spreading across local regions. Currently, we have four active Locals: YIM Orange, YIM Alameda, YIM Sacramento, and YIM Humboldt. If you’re interested in igniting Youth In Mind in your local region, please contact

Mad Organizers–A Civic Leadership Program

Spring of 2012, Youth In Mind had an opportunity to attend Harvard’s Executive Leadership Course and Study under Marshall Ganz. YIM piloted a civic leadership program, where members engaged in a distance learning Fellowship. Fellows spent 10 weeks learning leadership theories, organizing skills, and co-coordinated our 2012 Youth Leadership Academy. Our Fellowship has an emphasis on psychosocial wellness from the unique perspective of mental health activists.

Youth In Mind is opening up our Mad Organizer’s program to other members, and interested groups. Participants will gain deeper awareness on leadership through organizing, how to develop and deliver your public narrative, holding effective teams, and understanding the power of interdependent leadership. If you’re interested in knowing more about our civic leadership program, please email

Youth In Mind was interviewed with SF Weekly about YIM’s first organizing campaign on addressing discrimination and stigma in the mental health community. This campaign ignited out of YIM’s Mad Organizing Fellowship, where the organization is engaging the public in narratives of what the grassroots thinks of mental health, and positive alternatives to discriminatory actions and language.

This campaign is multi-media based, where community members can create videos, write stories, or snap photos holding signs with their statements. The campaign launched in May for Mental Health Awareness month, and will celebrate its successes October 10th, 2012 on World Mental Health Day.  For more information or to get involved, please email immediately!

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