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Second annual NKY Regional Youth Summit at NKU: Empowering young mental health champions

The 2023 Northern Kentucky Regional Youth Summit on Suicide Prevention will be held Tuesday, Oct. 24 on the campus of Northern Kentucky University from 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom.

Over 200 middle and high school students from across 22 schools in Northern Kentucky will participate in a day-long summit.

The students will experience breakout sessions and activities guided to strengthen their leadership & advocacy skills, feel empowered to make change in their community, help to address youth substance use and suicide trends, and foster resiliency skills to better cope with mental illness.

Last year’s Youth Summit on vaping (file photo/WellCare Kentucky)

This regional summit originated from a collaborative effort between various Northern Kentucky and Kentucky statewide partners in prevention wanting to make an impact in young people’s lives.

Over 45 community partners and organizations have come together offering their support, expertise, and funding to allow this educational event to occur.

At the event, the organizers will launch an NKY Youth Advisory Board in which students will have the opportunity to join and collaborate on regional projects to impact behavioral health prevention initiatives and make changes in their local schools and communities.

The goal of the Regional Youth Summit and the launch of the Youth Advisory Board is to amplify youth voice in substance use and suicide prevention efforts, and provide more leadership and advocacy opportunities for our youth.

According to the 2021 Kentucky Incentives for Prevention (KIP) Survey, more than one in five students in grade 8 (21.1%) and grade 10 (21.1%), and nearly one in every four grade 12 students (23.1%) were assessed as living in serious psychological distress.

Reported suicide attempts, even among the youngest respondents in grade 6, were startling: 7% of sixth graders (237 students) and 8.3% of eighth graders (291 students) reported they had attempted suicide in the 12 months before the survey.

Suicide ideation (6th grade, 9.4%, 8th grade, 13.8%) and planning (6th grade, 8.5%, 8th grade, 11.6%) reports demonstrated a consistent need for mental health support among even our youngest students.

The need to address the high level of student mental health challenges is paramount and through this Youth Summit and other collaborative efforts across Northern Kentucky, working to make sustainable change and reduce the startling mental health rates impacting students.

WellCare Kentucky

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