Both students’ efforts have ignited mental health-related conversations and increased visibility on their school campuses and beyond.
NEW YORK, NY — The Jed Foundation (JED) announced today students Crystal Widado and Joseph Sexton as the recipients of the 2022 Student Voice of Mental Health Award (SVMHA), an annual award that recognizes students for their outstanding work to raise awareness for mental health issues, reduce prejudice around mental illness, and encourage help-seeking among their peers.
Crystal is a rising senior at Glendora High School in Los Angeles, studying journalism and English. They are the writing director of Each Mind, a youth-led mental health non-profit that creates digital magazines and blog posts about teen mental health. Crystal is also the social media facilitator of Mind Out Loud, a California Department of Education-sponsored mental health student representative group that advocates for increased mental health awareness in teens. Crystal is the captain of their school’s debate team where they have received numerous team awards and school awards in tournaments among hundreds of high school debaters.
Joseph is a rising senior at Vanderbilt University studying cognitive science, mathematics, and medicine, health, and society. At Vanderbilt, Joseph has vitalized a movement for mental health through his Mental Health Reform Group and the creation of the Vanderbilt Critical Psychiatry Conference, a student-led initiative on the politics of mental health that drew an audience of over 200 clinicians, academics, and activists. Joseph serves on the Policy Committee for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Tennessee chapter and Mental Health America, who recognized him as Volunteer of the Year for the Midsouth region and a member of the selective Young Mental Health Leadership Council.
“We are proud to recognize the impact Crystal and Joseph are making in mental health awareness and suicide prevention in their communities,” said Rebecca Benghiat, president and COO of JED. “And we’re honored to uplift these young leaders and help to support what’s next in their journeys.”
A committee selected the awardees based on their essays, recommendations, and work portfolio. Winners receive a $3,000 scholarship to be used for educational purposes.
Created in 2008, the Student Voice of Mental Health Award has honored 17 students who come from all walks of life and have gone on to accomplish amazing things in the field of mental health.
Both winners will be honored at JED’s annual gala on June 7 at Cipriani Wall Street.
About The Jed Foundation (JED)
JED is a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults. We’re partnering with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs and systems. We’re equipping teens and young adults with the skills and knowledge to help themselves and each other. We’re encouraging community awareness, understanding, and action for young adult mental health.
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