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For Mental Health Action Day 2023, The Jed Foundation (JED) traveled to Acrisure Stadium, the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, for a conference that brought together council members, clinicians, and school leaders from the community to advance the conversation around supporting youth mental health. The event, held this year on May 18, was hosted in collaboration with Citrone 33, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting mental wellness in Pittsburgh.
Mental Health Action Day was created in 2021 by MTV Entertainment—a conference sponsor—to push conversations around mental health away from awareness and toward tangible action. This cross-sector collaboration calls attention to the importance of addressing mental health needs in the same way we address physical health needs: with urgency and definitive action.
Omar Khan, General Manager of the Steelers, opened the event by sharing his experiences practicing mindfulness in the high-pressure sports industry. Guests from a variety of local organizations, including the region’s 11 colleges and universities (which form the Pittsburgh JED Campus Cohort), various hospital and health networks, community nonprofits, and the Pennsylvania Board of Education, were able to connect with each other and share successes they have had in improving youth mental health.
David Finegold, President of Chatham University, also announced the launch of an Advisory Committee for the Pittsburgh Youth Mental Health Coalition. It will bring together leaders from local universities to develop an action plan for student mental health.
JED Experts Ethan Fields and Aisha Folkes led a panel with three university representatives—from schools currently completing the JED Campus program—about collective action planning and the importance of fostering strong mental health programs on campus. The event concluded with in-depth, expert-led breakout sessions focusing on how to best support the emotional well-being of youth, with solutions including advocacy, greater access to mental health services, and cross-campus activation.
If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone right now, text, call, or chat 988 for a free confidential conversation with a trained counselor 24/7.
You can also contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.
If this is a medical emergency or if there is immediate danger of harm, call 911 and explain that you need support for a mental health crisis.