We address teen suicide, anxiety, stress and other mental challenges so that young people can focus on achieving in school.

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Psychologist Susan David shares how the way we deal with our emotions shapes everything that matters: our actions, careers, relationships, health and happiness. In this deeply moving, humorous and potentially life-changing talk, she challenges a culture that prizes positivity over emotional truth and discusses the powerful strategies of emotional agility.

Organizations Supporting Teens’ Mental Wellness

National Organizations

We can all help prevent suicide. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. The Lifeline is available at 1-800-273-8255.

Colorado

Art from Ashes exists to empower struggling youth by providing creative programs that facilitate health and hope through expression, connection and transformation. Their youth empowerment programs allow marginalized young people to express their creative genius through poetry and spoken word (Phoenix Rising); visual and tactile art (Drawing on Air); and drama and creative play (Casting Shadows), in a non-judgmental space with caring adults and community artists.

Community mental health centers exist across Colorado to provide counseling, therapy, substance abuse treatment, suicide prevention and other services.  We've mapped 86 centers and clinics across the state to help you find resources nearby.

Creative Strategies for Change works with schools, organizations, and communities, to mobilize arts and education for social justice. CSC programs and services include: consulting, leadership and professional development, workshops, residencies, performances, assemblies, and events.

Interfaith Bridge Counseling provides low-cost individual counseling and low-cost therapy groups for tweens, teens, and twenty-somethings as well as community programming in Denver. All of their therapeutic services are provided with a focus towards self-identity, spirituality, and multicultural diversity.

Sacred Voices promotes unity and healing through creative expression, especially for Latinx and Native American/American Indian youth.

New Mexico

Agora Crisis Center, affiliated with the University of New Mexico, provides a help-line, online emotional support (chat), information and referrals, volunteer opportunities and community training workshops for anyone in need of emotional support.

YCD Workshops on Mental Wellness

Below is a sampling of workshops YCD has offered at prior conferences and events supporting young people’s mental wellness. Click on any workshop title to read more about the session, the presenter, and reviews from our participants.

Can You Make Yourself Happier?

A student listens to a classmate.

Students will learn about the neuro-biological basis of emotion, and participate in a positive discussion about depression, anxiety, and stress. Special emphasis will be placed on psychological tools to cope with difficult thoughts and emotions—something that everyone has! Local psychologists in-training will provide you with some useful strategies on how to boost your happiness quotient!

Deconstructing Identity

Marissa Molina speaks to the audience.

What are the components of your identity?  How does this compare to others, and what can we learn by understanding the different components of our identities?  Join this workshop to explore these questions and more in an interactive format.

Embracing Failure as a Way to Grow

Samantha Sparks

This interactive workshop will give insight into real failures and hardship while evaluating the participants’ relationship to failure. Attendees will learn how to embrace failure and use it to gain knowledge. We will discuss strategies on how to take away the negative connotations that surround failure and, instead,  show how failure can be as much of a friend as success can be.

Empowering You to Prevent Suicide

A group of students talks and smiles.

In this session, participants will gain insight and information into the risk factors students face when it comes to suicide. We’ll debunk some myths and face some hard truths, even chat a bit about 13 Reasons Why.

The goal? To feel empowered to support ourselves and one another, working toward prevention of suicide in our community.

Empowering You to Prevent Suicide

A group of students talks and smiles.

In this session, participants will gain insight and information into the risk factors students face when it comes to suicide. We’ll debunk some myths and face some hard truths.  The goal? To feel empowered to support ourselves and one another, working toward prevention of suicide in our community.

Finding Self through Yoga

Students doing yoga in a room.

This workshop will allow students to experience the ancient Indian practice of yoga as they discover ways yoga can benefit them in their daily lives. We will explore techniques for relaxation and stress relief to find peace with ourselves. It is through acceptance of our authentic selves that we can become prepared as vehicles for positive change in our communities and the greater world.

Gun Violence Prevention and Student Action

Student smile and make peace signs for the camera.

This workshop, led by a few select students from Team Enough and Students Demand Action, will inform students about the history and complexities of gun violence in America, the student activism movement focused around gun violence prevention, counter arguments, and solutions being advocated for federally and in Colorado. Students who have made a name for themselves in this movement will provide personal experiences, expertise, opportunities and ways for other students to get involved nationally, statewide, and in their own communities. This workshop will give students access to gun violence prevention tools and groups, and will inspire students to stand up for what they believe in.

Healthy Masculinity = Healthy Men

Students in discussion.

It’s no secret that the quality of life for many men and boys has declined in the past several decades—from addictions to absent fathers, and failure to launch, to suicide across the lifespan. Dr. Steve Rissman, who has developed a Men’s Health program at MSU Denver, will discuss the roadblocks to healthy manhood, based our society’s “man rules”. He will show how those rules impede physical, social, emotional and psychological health. Finally, as a group we will create solutions for improving health for men/boys. By exploring this important relationship between masculinity norms and health, we can begin to improve the lives of men, boys, and ultimately everyone.

Healthy Relationships 101

The relationships we have with others impact how we feel about ourselves. In this workshop, we will discuss the dynamics that create healthy and secure relationships with family, friends and intimate partners. Through this workshop, you will learn strategies to recognize patterns that are unhealthy and even toxic, and what to do when this happens.

Honest and Compassionate Dialogue with Self and Others

A group of students stand in a circle.

We rely on our dynamic personal history to inform our perception of the world, others, and ourselves. Experiences such as suffering, joy, gender, culture, religion, and so much more distinguish how we learned to be versus how we would rather be in our day-to-day lives and through our interactions with others.  This workshop will provide strategies to help you become a more informed reader of physical signs in others and to become more aware of your own physical and psychological tendencies in order to interact authentically with others.

Listening with the Heart: Non-Violent Communication

How often do you really feel HEARD? Learn how to listen with an open heart; and be heard in the same way. Do you find that counting to ten when you’re mad isn’t that helpful? Learn some non-violent communication techniques to get the results you desire in your relationships. Discover powerful, effective communication skills in this interactive, fun workshop (then teach them to your parents!).

Making Sense of Challenging Decisions

A panel of religious representatives speak.

We are often faced with choosing between seeming opposites, some not as clear as others. Using whole and small group activities, we will explore what the Hindu text, the Bhagavad Gita, says about moving towards equanimity and mindfulness. Hopefully, this text will give participants concrete take-aways when faced with having to make challenging decisions.

Managing Anxiety after a School Lockdown

A teen girl speaks while another teen boy listens.

If you’re a teen, the fear and anxiety of a school lockdown are all too real. It’s as if school lockdowns are becoming our new norm, establishing an all-too-familiar cycle of fear, devastation, and loss. Participants will explore their own feelings that come with high school lockdowns and school shootings, and learn coping mechanisms for handling these situations.

Mindfulness for Teens

A group of students stand in a line thinking and listening.

We can’t change our biases until we know what they are, and mindfulness can serve as a tool to interact differently with other people, especially across social differences.

We will start out talking about what mindfulness is, its roots in Eastern/Buddhist philosophy, and how it can be used not only for self-care, but to minimize implicit bias and create cultural inclusion. We will interactively discuss each of these topics, ask participants to bring their whole selves into the room (not just their intellects) to mindfully check in to their own bodies as they consider their own biases and embodied reactions to stereotypes, and offer solutions and strategies for culturally inclusive behavior.

Neighboring across Divides

Join this interactive discussion of the economic challenges facing our local community. We’ll review research Homeward Alliance and other organizations have gathered to show the effects of rising living costs, lack of access to living wages, and insufficient mental/physical support. Throughout the workshop, we will engage in open dialogue about where we see ourselves within this socioeconomic spectrum, and how we can act as neighbors to acknowledge, empower, and engage those who may be lost in that scale.

Phoenix Rising: Empowering Your Creative Genius Through Poetry and Spoken Word

A student performs a poem on a stage.

Engage in a dialogue with your subconscious through poetry! You are a creative genius and have the power to transform your life into personal power, hope, and health. Art from Ashes facilitates creative workshops, taking participants through guided writing prompts that will inspire and empower you to find and use your creative voice, and connect with yourself and other people in a new way. You’ll also get to witness an amazing live poetry performance by a professional poet/artist.

Put Down the Backpack

A student listens.

Every one of us walks around with a weight put there by the lives we lead. You can’t see my backpack and I can’t see yours. That doesn’t mean it’s not heavy, and full of what makes me – ME! In this workshop, we will examine how life experience, labels and privilege weigh us down, and impact our lives.

Self-Care Starts with You

Kimber Howe leads a group of students through a self-care workshop.

Self-care is a very active and powerful choice to engage or disengage in activities that are essential to maintain your optimal level of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

In this interactive self-care workshop you will experience relaxing yoga and meditation techniques and explore the benefits of the body, mind, and spirit connection. You will gain the ability to assess your habits in your current daily routine, create new habits and strengthen existing habits to maximize your happiness and your productivity, while minimizing anxiety and stress.

Sharing Stories of Love, Struggle and Finding Ourselves

A student speaks.

We will use creative brainstorming activities and writing exercises in order to share our stories of love, struggle, and finding ourselves. Through peer support we can grow as writers while growing as a community. All writing levels are welcome and all genres are welcome.

Shifting Your Perception

This transformative workshop consists of brain teaser exercises, illusions, videos and activities to explore how we see and what choices we make because of those beliefs. During this interactive experience we uncover origins that shaped our perceptions of race, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, religion, ability and appearance. We depict how the factors shaping our beliefs from our experiences and environment to the media influences choices with detrimental or beneficial results. In this heightening self-awareness session you will receive empowerment strategies to heal from harmful experiences and rid yourself of destructive conditioning in order to break unhealthy habits, attain self-love and build empathy and sincere relationships. Leave feeling stronger and uplifted with a newly evolved approach toward the treatment of self and others.

Social Media and You: Protecting Your Mental Wellness

Though social media boasts benefits of social connection, exchange of ideas, and creative self-expression, these seemingly innocuous forms of communication can have long-lasting, detrimental effects on individuals’ mental wellness. In this session participants will learn more about why this happens, as well as practical solutions to help reduce the negative effects of social media.

Stress 101: Stay Calm and Carry On

A group of Latinx students sits on the stairs and smiles.

Stress—it’s something teens deal with every day, and it doesn’t go away when we become adults. From the pressure of getting good grades in school to dealing with difficult times in our families, it helps to have tools that help us stay calm in the midst of chaos. Participants in this workshop will generate discussion about this topic and gain insight from shared experience. We will also learn hands-on strategies to take better care of ourselves on a daily basis so that when life gets tough, we can get through it and carry on.

The Instagram Effect

A group of students listens intently.

Together, we will explore the ways that Instagram affects high school aged girls (14-19 years old) and their developing body image. During this workshop, two current students will provide insight on the effect Instagram has on them. Additionally, The Instagram Effect will provide tools and techniques to utilize social media in positive ways to resist harmful messages, foster healthy self-esteem, and encourage body positivity in young girls.

Xpress Yourself! Hip Hop, Poetry, and Spoken Word

Ara Cruz

Step inside this workshop and learn how to express your thoughts and feelings through hip hop, poetry, and spoken word. Give voice to our stories of love, struggle, injustice, and celebration. With our words, we can represent our culture and traditions as we strengthen our minds and better our communities.

Yoga IRL

This workshop delivers the benefits of yoga, in real life. Those who attend Yoga IRL can expect to gain knowledge and perspective of their individual existence, and how that relates to their environment and those around them. We will feature body awareness exercises, on and off our mats. We will learn strategies for experiencing everyday emotions—fear and excitement, anger and joy—in more that just our heads. And we will explore how all of that fits into the complex world around us. This is the yoga no one talks about … yet.