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Acceptance, safety and support—Boston Newsletter: Summer 2018

Dear Friends,

Malcolm X once described watching a family member struggle with mental health like “trying to walk up the side of a hill of feathers.” This is a struggle common to many folks of color. July is National Minority Mental Health Month and at Peer Health Exchange Boston we show up for and support young people of color—and their mental health—year round.

Millions of young people, particularly young people of color and LGBTQ+ youth, struggle with depression, anxiety, and trauma on a daily basis. Young people are resilient but they often face systemic barriers that make them more vulnerable to mental health conditions. One of those barriers is the lack of access to inclusive and affirming health information and resources to speak to the lived experiences of young people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Peer Health Exchange seeks to bridge this gap, and in Boston, we’ve grown to provide our trauma-informed, skills-based health curriculum to more than 3,100 young people a year. We work alongside college volunteers to ensure our health workshops are truly inclusive of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, gender identities and sexual orientations, medically accurate and age-appropriate.

Our work is far from done. Please join us to make sure that your community, your schools, and your family show up for and support young people of color and young people from marginalized identities.

In Solidarity,

Uchenna Ndulue
Boston Executive Director

Dear Friends,

Watching the news these days, I often feel paralyzed. There are times I’m unsure of what to say, or if it’s my place to say anything at all. But then I remember that the work we do at Peer Health Exchange—showing up for young people—compels me to speak out and act.

When I first learned about the thousands of children currently being detained at the U.S.-Mexico border, I thought about my own small sons and all that it takes for children to develop. Working in health education, I know that trauma and toxic stress in young children can affect healthy brain development and have lasting effects long into adulthood.

There are many young people already in this country that live daily with the fear of separation and deportation. The future of these children—at the border and in our communities—will impact us all, and I urge you to consider how these violent policies are creating a public and mental health crisis that will affect all of us for generations to come.

Peer Health Exchange believes that every young person deserves to live a long, healthy life, and we urge you to join us in showing up for them.

With gratitude,

Louise Langheier
Co-Founder and CEO

Peer Health Exchange LA Executive Director LaDawn Best (center) recognized by the California State Legislature’s LGBT caucus for her important contributions.

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