Millhill Child & Family Development and Trenton Next Generation Community Leaders Host Embrace You Positive Mental Health Community Festival on July 21 to Celebrate Mental Wellness

Photo Caption: Trenton’s Next Generation Community Leaders

Millhill Child & Family Development and Trenton Next Generation CommunityLeaders Host Embrace You Positive Mental Health Community Festival on July21 to Celebrate Mental Wellness

Trenton, NJ – June 20, 2018 -As part of National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in July, Millhill Child & Family Development’s Next Generation Community Leaders (NGCL),announce plans to host a community wellness festival on Saturday, July 21 at MLK Elementary School. The festival is the year –long outcome of the NGCL youth led civic engagement project and is designed to raise awareness, educate the community about mental wellness strategies, and empower attendees to “Embrace You!”

“We are so excited to rally the community around this critical issue,” states Adams Sibley, Youth Coach for Team Trenton. “Our teens understand that in urban areas like Trenton, mental health carries the weight of stigma and shame. They’ve witnessed it firsthand in their schools and in their neighborhoods, often only after it was too late. “That’s why they’ve decided to change the narrative and are organizing the Embrace You! Community Festival, a one-day celebration of resilience and mental wellness.”

The New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI), the statewide grant making program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) awarded Millhill, and nine other organizations across the  state, a NGCL three-year award this past year to harness the energy, knowledge, and idealism of young people ages 14-21 to prepare them to become future leaders. The Trenton NGCL Team, Team Trenton Standing Tall, consists of 15 young leaders from Trenton.

The NGCL were given a task to develop a civic engagement project this summer that addresses a public health issue of their choosing. The students discussed literacy, employment, and access to healthy foods. But when the topic turned to mental health, the discussion became personal. The choice of project became clear.

“People are afraid to talk about mental health issues and suicide. They’re uncomfortable,” said NGCL member Nabia Evans. “So many individuals have problems talking about stuff. They like to keep things inside. People also need to understand the issue before they judge. This festival can help raise awareness and provide people with a better understanding about the importance of
mental wellness.”

According to the 2016 New Jersey Youth Suicide Report, suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth aged 10-14. The report also points to Mercer as one of three New Jersey counties with the highest rates of suicide attempts and self-inflicted injuries seen in emergency rooms.  The CDC reports that suicide rates increased more than 25% since 1999.  The NGCL program kicked off with a youth retreat in September of last year at YMCA Camp Ockanickon in Medford, NJ. Since then, the youth leaders met on a bi-weekly basis to learn from local experts about community health and to identify, develop, and implement a project to address an issue of their choosing. In July, the youth will work for four weeks with various nonprofit and government agencies to address the mental health challenges in their homes, schools, and neighborhoods. The Embrace You! Community Mental Wellness Festival is a culmination of their work.

The day long festival is free and will include presentations by mental health experts, wellness workshops, activities for families, food, fun, music, and learning. In addition to funding from the New Jersey Health Initiatives, the statewide grantmaking program of Robert Wood Johnson and Millhill Child & Family Development the festival is supported in part through NJM Insurance
Group and The College of New Jersey. Additional sponsorships are available as well as volunteer and community partner opportunities. For more information please visit www.millhillcenter.org/embrace or contact Michelle Thompkins at 609-989-7333 x 131.

About Millhill Child & Family Development

Millhill Child & Family Development is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to helping children and families in Greater Trenton through education, counseling, family support services and community collaborations spanning from an early age to adult. Founded in 1971, Millhill serves more than 5,000 individuals in the community with the help of dedicated staff, volunteers and financial contributors. Millhill empowers lives using an approach that is both individualized and collaborative taking into account the dynamics of the whole family. Services are offered at 101 Oakland Street and 802 Prospect Street in Trenton, NJ. For more information about our programs, please visit www.millhillcenter.org or on Facebook at facebook.com/millhillchildandfamily.

About New Jersey Health Initiatives

New Jersey Health Initiatives is the statewide grantmaking program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Established in 1987 in honor of the New Jersey philanthropic legacy of RWJF’s founder, Robert Wood Johnson, NJHI supports innovations and drives conversations to build healthier communities through grantmaking across the State of New Jersey. To meet the many health needs of our state’s diverse populations, regions and communities, the NJHI program encourages collaboration across sectors to foster deep relationships committed to long-term change affording all New Jerseyans the opportunity to live the healthiest life possible. Learn more about NJHI at njhi.org, and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/NJHI_ or on Facebook at facebook.com/newjerseyhealthinitiatives.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the largest private foundation in New Jersey and the nation’s largest philanthropy working to improve the health and health care of all. The Foundation is striving to build a national Culture of Health that will enable all to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. RWJF has invested more than $1.2 billion in New Jersey since 1972. For more information, visit rwjf.org/nj. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at rwjf.org/facebook.