Teen mental health is the topic of community event in Menlo Park on April 22

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on April 17, 2018

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Unmasking Teen Mental Health” is the topic of a community event on April 22 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Trinity Church in Menlo Park.

“About a year ago, I received an email from a fellow youth minister who was forwarding an email from a school that concerned the Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, which focuses on a young person who commits suicide,” says Patrick Kangrga, Trinity’s youth minister (pictured right).  “Several days after that I received another email from a parishioner with a link to an article about a new mental health organization in Menlo Park called SafeSpace.

“Around the same time my colleague, the Rev. Elizabeth Riley, presented the idea of a mental health-related event thinking I might be interested in having youth involved. So many things coming together and the recent history of suicides in our neighboring communities made it beyond clear that this was the time and the way for Trinity to respond to this issue.”

The evening includes a screening of the short film, Unmasked, produced by Palo Alto and Gunn High School students and described as a fictionalized account of how a young person and his/her community struggles with the issue of suicide.

A panel of experts representing youth, parents and professionals from the nonprofit, clinical, and academic worlds will follow the film by answering questions with a specific focus on how to recognize the signs of mental illness in youth and how to respond.

Panelists include Lesley Martin, founder of SafeSpace; Islam Hassanein, a program manager at the Crisis Intervention & Suicide Prevention Center, StarVista; Erik Burmeister, Superintendent of the Menlo Park City School District, and Patricia Way, a parent of someone with serious mental illness who is involved locally with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Nadia Ghaffair, a senior at Los Altos High School and the founder of the nonprofit TeenzTalk.

The night will end with a resource fair where attendees can interact with panelists along with other organizations that will be present.

6:00 pm: Screening of Unmasked, a documentary made by Palo Alto teens about this area’s mental health and suicide epidemic
6:45 pm: Panel discussion with local mental health experts from NAMI, Safespace, StarVista, and the school board
7:45 pm: Open community fair of local mental health resources

Trinity is located at 330 Ravenswood Avenue in Menlo Park. The event is free but registration is encouraged.

Photo courtesy of Trinity Church

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