Youth perspective: Don’t ignore the feelings of young people

MHA Admin

Tue, 09/06/2022 – 09:46

by Breanna Kennedy

My name is Breanna Kennedy, and my mental health journey has been the most harrowing, yet empowering experience in my life. I was 11 years old when I had my first suicidal thought. I was 12 years old when I tried to kill myself the first time. I was just a kid when I felt as though the world was crashing down on my entire body and I was responsible for keeping myself afloat. I felt as though I was completely alone having to face the world myself and that was a terrifying feeling.

Suicidal thoughts just do not start at this magical age of adulthood. It often starts with middle and high school students. During those ages, students are typically trying to figure out the world and understand themselves. Combine that with the overwhelming stress that often comes with school and home life, and it could be overwhelming for anyone. From my own experience and throughout my advocacy, I have learned that it is frequently a trend for people who children look up to quickly dismiss their feelings without a second thought, because “kids do not have anything to worry about.” These dismissals not only discourage young people from speaking out, but the invalidation often makes them feel as though they must deal with these situations on their own.

Whilst working at my local Boys’ and Girls’ Club, I often told the young people, , “Your problems and experience should be validated. You all have small bodies with big emotions, so if something is important to you, then it should be treated as such.” Age does not stop the hardships of life. Young people seem to feel the impact the hardest and also seem to be left with the least amount of support.

Things I endured in middle school and high school still affect me today and have left an impact on my life. I truly wish I had someone to validate and guide me in my formative years. That wish drives me to try my best to make sure young people, and my peers, do not feel the heavy feeling that I felt a few years ago. Experiencing mental illness at such an early age and continuing to learn how to navigate it has not only molded me into the person I am today, but it also fuels my true passion of mental health advocacy.

Whether you are a parent, teacher, or mentor, young people need you. To comfort them. To validate them. To listen to them. To love them unconditionally and give them the resources they need to thrive. If I were to give a piece of advice to my younger self and the thousands of young people experiencing suicidal thoughts or feeling alone: I see you, and you are not alone in these hardships. Please talk to someone, whether it is your parent or trusted adult, because you do not have to deal with this alone. Your life matters. You matter.

Breanna Kennedy (she/they) served on the MHA 2021-2022 Young Mental Health Leaders Council and is a junior at the University of South Carolina-Aiken as a molecular biology major. She works as resident mentor on campus, a mentor at her local Boys and Girls Club, and a student leader within several organizations and her campus.


The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will house a “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center, that will provide case management, mental health community advocacy, and oversight from the M.I. Mother’s Keeper mental health advocates. 
The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will offer patrons access to immediate coverage by general surgeons as well as coverage by the specialties of orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology and critical care.
Our goal is to help people in the best way possible in an effort to preserve and to save more lives in the Nation’s Capital and beyond.

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Code Red
Gunshot Victim
Life Threatening Wounds
Physical Assault Victim
Severely Injured Auto Accident Victim
Burn Victim
Choking & Breathing Obstructions
and more…


Child Sex Assault Victim
Domestic Violence Victim
Drug Overdose
Rape/Sex Crime Victim
Suicide Watch
Trafficking Victim
Nervous Breakdown
and more…

Mental Health

At Capital City Emergency Trauma & Wellness Center patrons with mental health emergencies that include life threatening situations in which an individual is imminently threatening harm to self or others, severely disoriented or out of touch with reality, has a severe inability to function or is otherwise distraught and out of control, will have access to quality and psychiatric emergency services and referrals.

Physical Health

Whether your life threatening medical emergency involves excessive or uncontrollable bleeding, head injury. difficulty with breathing, severe pain, heart attack, vision impairments, stroke, physically collapsing, or seizure related, rest assured that our professionals will properly assess and evaluate the level of response that will be most needed to help provide stabilized care solutions and minimize complications as well as reduce early mortality.

Holistic Healthcare

We offer healthcare solutions that will support the whole person which includes their physical, psychological, emotional, social, & spiritual wellbeing. Research supports that because your mental state can affect your overall health we support and offer the inclusion of complimentary and alternative medicine(CAM) practitioners and naturopathic doctor recommendations and referrals as a part of our Outreach Community Resource Center’s care regimen and support.


Emergency care can typically result in traumatic injuries for which rehabilitation becomes an essential component of care in trying to achieve the best long-term outcomes for the patient. In addition to speeding up recovery times and helping to prevent further complications, rehabilitative care also helps to support a patient’s self-managed recovery once discharged from our facility. Our Outreach Community Resource Center works closely with our trauma center’s discharge department to assure that patrons requiring these services are linked with qualified professionals who will be accountable to the standard of care required to help the patron be successful in their recovery.

Social Services

Our “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center intends to promote “expansive” beneficial community enriching services, programs, case management, & linkage to “approved” partner resources and supports in all of the following intended areas and more:

Social Services

  • Clothing
  • Food Pantry
  • Housing/Shelter
  • I.D. Credentials
  • Senior Wellness Check
  • Toiletries
  • Transportation
  • Etc.

Extended Family Services

  • Child Care
  • Credit Counseling
  • Family Court Services
  • Legal Aide

Career Training

  • Apprenticeship programs
  • Computer/Graphics Training
  • Culinary Program  
  • GED Courses
  • Hospitality Training
  • Job Etiquette & Grooming
  • Resume’ Prep
  • Sales Training
  • Software/Technology workshops
  • Small Business Training

Return Citizen
Program Partner
(Bridging the Gap)

  • Case Management
  • Temporary Boarding/Housing
  • Transitional Program Registration

Prevention/Intervention Outreach,
Workshops, & Programs

  • After-school Behavioral Health Program
  • Civic Engagement / Volunteer Sign-up
  • Fatherhood Rites of Passage
  • Gun Violence Town Hall Forum
  • Life Coaching & Coping Strategies
  • Marriage Counseling Workshops
  • Medicare Informational Workshops
  • Mentorship Training
  • Parental Classes
  • Support Groups
  • Town Hall Discussions
  • Violence De-Escalation Training
  • Voter Registration

Nutritional Outreach

  • Cooking Demonstrations
  • Dietary Programs
  • Exercise Classes
  • Recipe Sharing Workshops
  • Meal Prep

Community Outreach

The Healthy DC & Me Leadership Coalition is partnering with the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health advocacy organization to provide outreach services on the community level as an aid in reducing the existent health inequities that many District citizens are facing as a direct result of the presence of debilitating social determinants and the lack of culturally appropriate care choices and realities for community members residing in marginalized and lower-income communities.

It is the vision and intentions of the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health Advocates organization to help improve the quality of living for citizens living in our Nation’s Capital and beyond by overseeing the delicate linkage to services and by maintaining higher standards of care accountability for deserving citizens of the Nation’s Capital.

For more information or to enroll as one of our service providers, please email us at: