The Second Annual Youth Summit was held at the Westchester County Center on Wednesday, March 20 and had an extensive list of hosts and sponsors.
The event was a “unique opportunity” for students, educators and health professionals to collaborate with elected officials and civic leaders to talk about the different reasons why teens start using drugs as well as the many prevention methods.
Hosts of the event include:
- Westchester County Executive George Latimer
- The Department of Community Mental Health
- The County Youth Bureau
- The Harris Project
- Montefiore Hudson Valley Collaborative
- Student Assistance Services Corporation
- The Westchester Coalition for Drug and Alcohol-Free Youth
The event’s theme was “Co-Occurring Disorders Awareness (CODA). A co-occurring disorder is defined as a combination of one or more mental health challenges that result in substance addiction and misuse.
“Many young people are impacted by mental health issues and substance misuse, and the Youth Summit is an important part of Westchester County’s multifaceted approach in addressing prevention, education and treatment for our teens,” said Latimer. “We hope that the Youth Summit empowers youth to become positive decision-makers, seek early intervention if they have a problem, and step in if they have friends and peers that may be headed down the wrong path.”
More than 300 students from 46 different Westchester County High Schools gathered for the event, which comprised a series of workshops addressing critical topics like leading change, social media and trends, mindfulness, supporting friends and peers, transformation through the arts and sport and more.
Westchester County will also be participating in the CODA Weeks for 2019, which are scheduled between Monday, April 1 and Monday, April 15. During these weeks, an increased effort will be made to raise awareness in schools and communities about prevention programs.
“Transitioning into adulthood can be overwhelming yet exciting. By engaging and educating our youth on the realities of co-occurring disorders, and empowering young people to access available resources to address their own needs as well as their peers, the efforts of developing future leaders that are socially and emotionally fit will be advanced,” said Director of the Youth Bureau, Dr. DaMia Harris-Madden. “The Westchester County Youth Bureau, the Department of Community Mental Health and the various stakeholders are poised to broaden the conversation concerning CODA and will continue to leverage resources to promote optimal health outcomes for Westchester’s youth.”
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