Creative Resilient Youth (CRY) is a teen-led program attempting to respond to gaps in intergenerational dialogue and lack of mental health care resources in schools.
CRY meetings enable creative exchange, promote collective consensus building, and provide space for individual reflection. Through weekly meetings teens build towards producing works of art and contemplative aesthetic practices that give them language for unpacking mental health stigma. The program centers capacity building around community organizing and project management, furthering teens’ abilities to step into leadership positions as young changemakers at the forefront of movements for health justice among their peers and communities.
CRY 2020 Exhibition featuring CRY 2019-20
CRY Podcast: The New Normal
The CRY teens discuss drug use and its connection with mental health, including personal stories of diagnosis and its effect on them during quarantine. This episode also hits on mental health in school environments and potential solutions for problems in the academic structure.
We aim to provide a lasting and impactful space for conversations and action-based work about teen mental health in Philadelphia. The program leverages participatory art and leadership skills to co-create preventative strategies for teens, who remain among the most at-risk populations to experience extreme states and committing acts of self-harm or suicide.
Between 2006 and 2014, the suicide rate in the United States among people 19 and under rose from 2.18 to 2.75 per 100,000 people, according to Pew Center research. Children and adolescents (ages 10–14) with mental health conditions make up 90% of those who commit suicide, according to NAMI. Drawing from our own lived experiences, we created CRY to support the visions and voices of teens in response to this great need.