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County young people asked to share mental health experiences with elected officials

COURTESY PHOTO: MULTNOMAH COUNTY  - The event is sponsored by Commissioner Sharon Meieran and will begin with brief opening remarks from U.S. Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici and Portland Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty.Young people from middle school to college age are invited to join Multnomah County's second Youth Mental Health Forum from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 21 at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Portland on 1000 N.E. Multnomah St, Portland or virtually. Young people can register to attend here.

The forum allows young people to connect with peers and share their ideas around mental health access and care to elected officials.

Youth are invited to attend all or parts of the event. It will feature behavioral health providers, a resource fair and affinity spaces. There is no cost to enter, and lunch is included.

The event is sponsored by Commissioner Sharon Meieran and will begin with brief opening remarks from U.S. Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici and Portland Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty. All young people from across the County are welcome.

The first Youth Mental Health Forum in 2020 was held just before the first COVID-19 cases were reported in Oregon.

Meieran organized the event to give youth the space to share openly about the mental health challenges they were facing and offer ideas for solutions.

The previous event provided youth an opportunity to come together to share their stories, and provided local, state and federal elected officials and other community leaders the opportunity to hear directly from youth in ways that could inform policy.

The event is especially poignant now with anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation have increasing dramatically due to two years of isolation, loss and recent racial reckoning.

"It is more important now than ever before that we give youth the space to share their stories, and that decision makers listen to their collective voice,'' said Meieran. "Kids have experienced a tremendous amount of trauma over the past two years, but they are strong, resilient and powerful. Increasing awareness of the mental health crisis, letting kids know they are not alone, and providing space where they can just be, are essential to begin the process of healing."


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