Text, Talk, Act partners with National 4-H

National 4-H and Creating Community Solutions have partnered to facilitate the Text, Talk, Act teen mental health awareness program. See how and when you can get involved.

4-H is committed to helping youth across the nation in gaining skills to problem-solve challenges in their personal life, school, community and our world. A key component of this is ensuring healthy minds for all 4-Hers and those around them. The fourth H in “4-H” is for health, and it is important to have balance between all of the four H’s. 4-H provides programs for youth between the ages of 5-19 and since over half of mental health problems generally surface between the ages of 14 and 24, it is important to bring young people into conversations about mental health.

That is why National 4-H established a partnership with Creating Community Solutions to offer an innovative program that is proven effective in getting young people more comfortable talking about mental health. Text, Talk, Act uses text messaging to facilitate a face-to-face conversation on mental health. Teen participants gather in small groups of three to four people with one cell phone per group. They text START to the number 89800 to receive a series of text messages that guides their group through a conversation on mental health: why it is important, how to care for it and how to help a friend in need. The text messages include videos, social media interactions, polling questions and discussion questions.

Some may remember the Text, Talk, Act Teen Mental Health Program that was offered through Michigan State University Extension on Nov. 10, 2015. Last year, three Michigan 4-H program coordinators participated in Text, Talk, Act groups. Now, Michigan 4-H has more opportunities to offer the Text, Talk, Act program on May 5, May 21 or during the month of June.

June is 4-H Text, Talk, Act month, a partnership established by National 4-H, and additional information is forthcoming with exact dates and material to promote this opportunity to 4-H clubs and groups. 4-H clubs and groups have the choice to participate in one of the two May dates or wait to receive more information about June, although it is encouraged not to wait too long as this is a great opportunity. If you are interested in taking part, you can convene an existing group of young people, such as a 4-H older youth club or mentoring group, you could work with a classroom in a local school or you could bring a group together specifically for this one-hour conversation. Note that there is no charge for participating in the event. 

For more information about Text, Talk, Act group opportunities, please visit the Text, Talk, Act website or contact me at knboyd@anr.msu.edu.

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