KYCC’s Clinical Services launched its first ever Mental Health Youth Leadership program this year to help promote mental health awareness among teens and to empower more young people to educate one another, raise awareness about mental health and end the stigma against mental illness. The Spreading Awareness to Youth (S.A.Y.) club, a new program under KYCC’s KISM program, started February of 2020 and will continue through May 2021. Students meet every week to participate in mental health workshops, activities and peer-led discussions on topics such as depression among adolescents. This student-led group will be dedicated to mental health conversations and provide teens a platform to share their voices and erase the stigma around mental health.

Many studies have shown that 50% of mental illnesses present before the age of 14 and it could take 8 to 10 years between the onset of symptoms and receiving actual treatment. With suicide as the second leading cause of death for ages 10 – 24, and with the rise of bullying among middle school and high school students, mental health has become a passion for many young people. Currently 7 high school students from Los Angeles meet weekly with two KYCC Clinical staffers who are dedicated to mentoring them.

“We’ve found that the youth are really dedicated and passionate about mental health. They are eager to raise awareness and educate themselves on what mental wellness really looks like. KYCC’s Clinical Services is here to provide mental health knowledge and resources to the youth, how to prevent mental illnesses and where to seek help if you’re suffering from a mental illness. We want to develop their leadership skills as well, so that they can come up with their own projects and initiatives to reach out to their peers. We are hopeful they will become mental health ‘ambassadors’ among their friends and family,” says Eric Ji, KISM Program Coordinator.


The Spreading Awareness to Youth (S.A.Y.) club is part of the Korean Integrated Service Management (KISM) program, which is funded in part by the County of Los Angeles, Department of Mental Health. The Korean Integrated Service Management (KISM) program is a collaborative effort among six Korean service providers to identify and treat individuals with mental health needs and secondary physical health and/or substance abuse concerns. KYCC’s Clinical Services unit is the lead agency for this program, which has already outreached to over 7,000 Koreans throughout Los Angeles County since its inception in 2012.

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