When you look at the teens at your school, do you see empowered students who know they can build the school culture they aspire to thrive in? When given the right resources and tools, teens can feel empowered to make changes in their community. Peer-led programming is a highly effective way for teens to build an inclusive school culture where discussing mental health challenges is a regular and comfortable practice.
Erika’s Lighthouse is a non-profit organization founded in 2004 that is dedicated to educating teens and raising awareness surrounding depression and mental health. Our programs are tailored to our mission of making sure no young person feels alone in their depression. Erika’s Lighthouse strives to help teens create an inclusive school culture and eliminate the stigma of mental health. Erika’s Lighthouse evidence-informed programs not only bring awareness to young people about depression and mental health; they build a structure for young people to thrive and survive, even when they might be experiencing depression.
How We Work
Erika’s Lighthouse offers Four Pillars for school communities to use to promote an inclusive school culture: Classroom Education, Teen Empowerment, Family Engagement, and School Policy & Staff Development. The Four Pillars categorize resources specific to the group they’re appropriate for. They allow schools the opportunity to deliver school-wide programming to promote a culture of inclusivity around mental health. Our Four Pillar Implementation Guide makes it easy for schools to utilize and implement our programs school-wide.
The Teen Empowerment pillar focuses on empowering teens with our teen empowerment clubs. They offer teens structure and support to take a leadership role in their school around mental health. Teen empowerment clubs around the nation lead Awareness Into Action Activities and influence them school-wide. These activities stem from Erika’s Lighthouse and some are even developed by teens themselves. When students join or create a teen empowerment club at their school, they are not only learning about depression, they are spreading awareness and learning how to be a beacon of hope in their community.
“I joined an Erika’s Lighthouse teen empowerment club to spread awareness and deconstruct the stigma surrounding mental health illnesses, the connotations associated with expression of mental health, and to work to put a halt to the drastic increase in suicide rates in the recent years. . .” – Perry Hall High School Teen Club member
Erika’s Lighthouse teen empowerment clubs teach students to recognize the signs of depression and encourage students to speak up. Through our Awareness into Action Activities, we include advocacy efforts. These allow students to take the lead in what they seek for their community; which includes being advocates for depression education. One of our advocacy activities encourages students to find the decision-makers at their school and outline why they should have mental health education programs added to their curriculum. This empowers teens and gives them the confidence to make the changes they see fit in their community. When teens can take hold of their education and matters that are important to them, they’re able to empower themselves to be the change they want to see. Erika’s Lighthouse truly believes teens have the power to change the world, do you? Join us today by sponsoring a teen club or registering to use our resources.