Pasadena Public Library – Youth Network, 3/3/2021

In today’s meeting we will plan for mental health month. As many of you voiced the need for more mental health services especially in the last several months, today you’ll have the opportunity to shape some of those services for yourself and for your classmates and friends.

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  1. We’ll start off with a very short breakout session where you’ll be partnered up to discuss a simple question.
  2. Then you’ll learn a bit about mental health month and what we’ve done in the past few years. Then vote for a few topics you’ll like us to explore as programs.
  3. Then we’ll break you out into small groups to start planning those ideas. We’ll reconvene and share our ideas as a group.



How do you handle stress or shocking news? 

If you handle it well, what is your technique for getting through it?

If you don’t handle it well, how do you think you can improve it?

You’ll have about 3 minutes to introduce yourself to your partner and then talk about this question.

When we return, you’ll introduce your partner. 

Lets keep some of those responses in mind as we start planning for mental health month.



After today’s meeting, we should have 1-3 ideas in place for mental health month programs.



  • Mental health month started in 1949
  • It is observed in May
  • The mental health awareness color is lime green
  • The purpose of mental health month is to raise awareness,
  • To fight stigma associated with mental illnesses
  • To provide support for those with mental health challenges and for family and friends
  • To advocate for mental health services



The first Pasadena Mental Health Day we held at Central Library was in 2017. The day was a 4-hour event that included various workshops, speeches, resource fair (which is when organizations set up tables and hand out information about their services and what’s available to you); there were sessions for people to tell their stories both from people who have gone through mental health challenges to family and friends who shared their experiences. We had lots of giveaways, and several sessions of Youth Mental Health First Aid —which is like regular first aid, but for mental health.

In 2018, we expanded on the event and added a “youth empowerment corner.” We included full lunches for youth, yoga, art therapy, a young adult authors panel, and bullying bystander workshop

In 2019, we continued with the youth corner activities, this time focusing on youth and homelessness

And last year (2020), instead of a Mental Health Day, we celebrated Mental Health Month and hosted a series of virtual workshops including mindfulness, a mental health book discussion, a zine workshop, story telling, resilience, and workshops about substance abuse.

Like last year, we will host a virtual series this year.



We’ve discussed mental health programs often during these youth network meetings. I’ve gone back to review notes and pictures, and pulled out some ideas that you have suggested in the past. Some of those ideas include programs that “Help your friends.” I took that to mean learning skills that you can use to help your friends; it’s similar to Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA).

There was an image I found from a meeting in 2019 that had a notation for something called a “happy campaign.” I translated this to mean a well-being or happiness project which focuses on Positive Psychology methods–includes affirmation practices and mindfulness.

More art therapy.

And we talk a lot about getting information out to teens. There is already a lot of information that is distributed to teens and parents/guardians, but maybe why this comes up often is that it’s not always easy to understand — like there’s too much or disorganized information. Perhaps the formatting is not easy to read. Something to work on.



Mental health encompasses a lot of topics. There are programs and information about what people traditionally think about when it comes to mental health, including topics like disorders, trauma, depression, therapy. And then there’s the self-care side of taking care of your own health so that you prevent mental health crises and build better coping mechanisms in case you need it. That’s a lot to work with.

We’ll narrow it down and will use your ideas to start this planning.



  • Info-session (learning about something to improve knowledge)
  • Hands-on physical (active program to release stress, scavenger hunt, art, doodling or bullet journaling)
  • Hands-on digital (program that uses interactive digital tools such as a game to explore a topic, writing if it’s on a computer)
  • Interactive audience (discussions, hearing about each-others’ stories/experiences, like breakout rooms)

*can use a combination

*stick to 1-hour programs

*Does it have to be a live program or can it be recorded?



Discuss topics in small groups; how the program should be presented; format; any supplies needed or things we should give away to participants; the goal of the program; who can help present the topic; what role you want to play in the program? (facilitator, assistant, planner, attendee.)

Be prepared to report back: (1) sample program description (title, possible dates or times, description), (2) format of program and supplies participants need (if any), (3) anything else to highlight from your group’s discussion

*sample descriptions or titles don’t need to be perfect, just ideas or bullet points; or spend the time discussing what you want to get out of this type of program


Group 1 ideas: 

poetry writing workshop with local author

Painting in the park





Group 2 ideas:

Speaker – someone young who can connect with teens

How your brain works

Art therapy

Music therapy 




Deep breathing

Coping with stress

What happens when you call in or talk to a therapist


Group 3 ideas:

Safe space

Teen support group

Group therapy / discussion – walk-in for teens

Discuss covid-specific anxieties like socializing

Having professionals in breakout rooms

Or people who staff hotlines like Teen Line listeners

Participants can have their voice heard

Questions for people to open up 

More of a healing session

Live program – zoom



Free live virtual cooking class – pick up ingredients at the library