Teens Speak Up during This Time of National Upheaval

Teens Speak Up during This Time of National Upheaval

July 07, 2020

Living through the historic COVID 19 pandemic of 2020 has not only had a profound impact on parents, but it has also upended the lives children.  These last few months have required the closure of schools, businesses, churches, and social institutions that are essential to everyday life.  It has affected the ability of families and friends to connect with each other, or enjoy the emotional support that human beings rely upon to handle difficult times.  In addition, the nation has experienced upheaval as America has exploded with nationwide protests demanding social justice and change.

Such monumental events are having a profound impact on the youth of America; however, very few people are including them in the national conversation.  How are they handling stress?  Who is helping them navigate these difficult times?  What do they need to cope and move forward during a period that is unprecedented?  The Fulton County Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (BHDD) will host a “Community Conversation” with teens titled “Protecting the Mental Health of Our Future Leaders: Fulton Teens Speak Up during This Time of National Upheaval”

The Community Conversation begins at 1.p.m. July 21, 2020. The conversation can be viewed on the Fulton County Government TV YouTube channel.   Interested parents, adults or youth can submit questions by emailing social@fultoncountyga.gov.

All questions can be addressed anonymously.

What are some of their concerns?   Harshita Challa a rising junior at Milton High School and a member of the Fulton County Youth Commission says, “I have experienced a lack of structure, social isolation and, at one time, fear of even going into the back yard or touching a door knob.”  In describing the impact of COVID-19 on her life, Challa adds that she has not allowed fears to overcome her current activities or future ambitions.

Vedu Mallela, a senior at Northview High School and serves as Chairman of the Fulton County Youth Commission also points to isolation and restrictions.  “I really can’t go out anymore and grab a meal or visit my older brother, said Mallela.”  He acknowledges that the upcoming school year will be tough as the schools and teachers work to ensure health and safety; however, he is ready to return to school.

Joining the teens is a panel of distinguished professionals who have extensive experience in working with both youth and adults on issues surrounding behavioral health, civil rights, social justice, and community involvement.  They will answer questions from both youth and their parents on making sense of the world today, and preparing for a better tomorrow.  Panelists will include:

  • Fulton County Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities Director LaTrina Foster,  Conversation Moderator
  • Dr. Sultan Simms –  Behavioral Health Medical Director, Georgia/South Carolina WellCare Health Plans, Inc.
  • Mwalimu Olatunji Lumumba, MSW – Founder, Male Action Coalition (MAC)
  • Dustin Poole – Black Mental Health Matters

    For more information about Behavioral Health Services, call 404-613-6385.