When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, its impact on the mental health and well-being of thousands of Chicago teens was clear. Young people were facing isolation, financial hardships, and food insecurity. Our teens needed mental health support, so After School Matters (ASM) partnered with Adler University to offer young people ways to address stigmas around mental health and to find support which included:
- Providing free counseling for any ASM teen needing support and services.
- Visits by Adler counselors to ASM programs to provide workshops on topics like mental health awareness, grief and loss, trauma and healing.
- Providing group therapy when teens experienced community loss, stress, or conflict within a program.
- Training for ASM instructors on recognizing and responding to youth mental health needs.
The partnership was such a success in helping teens cope with their stress and anxiety, After School Matters now offers mental health services as part of after-school programming year-round, providing a place for care (including telehealth options) and destigmatizing what it means and looks like to receive mental health care. More than 2,000 Chicago teens and more than 250 ASM instructors have participated in these programs since the partnership began.
In 2022, the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, visited After School Matters and spoke with teens, instructors, and Adler clinicians about the issues our young people are facing and what can be done to help them. He recognized ASM’s partnership with Adler as a leading example of providing young people with mental health support as they are dealing with an increase of anxiety, and depression among other issues. To read more about the U.S. Surgeon General’s visit from NBC Nightly News coverage of the exciting visit, click here.
For more information on the Adler partnership or if you are an ASM teen or instructor who needs support, please visit our Contact Us page.