‘Collective Compassion’ Puts Focus on Jewish Teen Wellness with Month of Programs and Resources for May Mental Health Awareness Month

This May, the Jewish community is bringing the power of ‘Collective Compassion to National Mental Health Awareness Month. Created by Jewish Teens Thrive, a project of the Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Funder Collaborative, Collective Compassion is a national response to the growing wellness needs of teens. Dozens of events and experiences, many in partnership with artists and organizations, draw on the power of Jewish creativity, culture, learning and values to support teens – and the adults that care about them.

“Adolescence is a turbulent time, and COVID-19 is leaving many teens and their families reeling by creating a heightened sense of uncertainty, confusion and loss,” says Sara Allen, Executive Director of the Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Funder Collaborative. “We aim to both call attention to these challenges and offer teens and adults new self-care practices they can use all year long, and a deeper understanding of the many dimensions of mental health.”

Collective Compassion is free and accessible to anyone. Highlights include:

·        Creativity for Coping, a resilience-building workshops series led by Jewish artists including ‘Storytelling for Sanity,’ an intimate concert and open mic with musicians, movement exercises, and guidance on inventing new rituals to mark loss.

·        Finding Purpose & Meaning with toolkits for Mental Health Shabbats, integrating gratitude into daily lives and philanthropy pop-ups for teens to support local wellness organizations.

·        Education & Awareness with screenside chats and live Q&As with experts such as teen author and mental health advocate Sophie Regal, parent-focused discussions with Dr. Betsy Stone, and panels and trainings with youth professionals.

·        Curated books and quarantine playlists

Those who work with teens are familiar with the statistics: One in 5 teens has had a serious mental health disorder; 50 percent of all mental illness begin by age 15; and among ages 15-24, suicide is the second leading cause of death.

Collective Compassion is supported by BBYO, The Blue Dove Foundation, Jewish Teen Funders Network, Jewish Teen Education & Engagement Professionals’ Network, Here Now, the URJ, the Mitsui Collective, Moving Traditions, and the Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit and harnesses the creative spirit and wisdom of many artists and educators.