Changing the Narrative and Sustaining the Message of Mental Well-Being Among Young Men and Boys

Jul 14 (Tue), 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM Coordinated Universal Time


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Changing the Narrative and Sustaining the Message of Mental Well-Being Among Young Men and Boys July 14, 2020 – 2:00 pm ET – 3:00 pm ET

Description: This webinar will highlight the Making Connections initiative in its fifth year and will share lessons that have emerged on shifting the narrative about mental health and well-being for young men and boys across the 13 sites. Many of the sites have engaged in a diverse array of media (i.e., videos, podcasts, Instagram stories) to share the impact of their work on their populations focus. Most local coalitions involved in this work have intentionally engaged young organizers and leaders in planning, implementation, and evaluation, and the voices of these young leaders are often those elevated in sharing the model. This work has built a solid foundation for sustaining the work through mentorship, youth board of directors, and building the capacity of young organizers to lead.


Ruben Cantu, Moderator Ruben Cantu is a program manager for Prevention Institute's work on community trauma, resilience and mental health. He has more than 20 years of experience in public health, equity, and technical assistance and capacity building. Before joining PI, he advocated for California's communities of color as Associate Director at the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN). As CPEHN’s lead on mental and behavioral health, he authored the state’s strategic plan for reducing mental health disparities, a part of the California Reducing Disparities Project, funded through the Mental Health Services Act. Before his nine years at CPEHN, Ruben was senior staff at several national organizations in Washington, DC focused on HIV/AIDS prevention and underserved communities. A native Texan and graduate of the University of Houston, he serves on several state mental health and resilience advisory committees. He has worked extensively with organizations and community members fighting to advance health equity for the underserved.


Roxann McNeish, PhD, MSW Roxann McNeish is a Research Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida where she has been employed since 2006. Prior to working at the University of South Florida, Dr. McNeish was a therapist and case manager. Dr. McNeish has authored numerous publications and technical reports as well as secured over $3M in funded research. McNeish received her bachelor’s degree, MSW, MPH, ad PhD from the University of South Florida.

Will Crary, MSW Will Crary is a Program Coordinator at Prevention Institute focusing on the connection between community conditions and mental health inequities. As a member of the Safety and Wellbeing team, Wil provides guidance on implementing community-led strategies and measuring the impact of primary prevention. With extensive experience as an educator, writer, facilitator, and researcher, he has contributed to a broad field of topics from food-based community-building to resident leadership development. Although he spends most of his time analyzing structural barriers to health and strategizing ways to undo systems of oppression, some of his fondest memories involve direct service work facilitating bicycle repair workshops with young men, mentoring recent immigrants seeking employment, and teaching university students the foundations of critical sociology.

Susan Gay, M.A.Ed., MCHES® Susan Gay is a program coordinator at Southern Plains Tribal Health Board’s Tribal Epidemiology Center, a non-profit organization that serves 44 federally recognized tribes in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas. She manages the Making Connections for Mental Health and Wellbeing Among Men and Boys in the U.S. grant. The goal of the Oklahoma Making Connection’s program is to empower American Indian men and boys to be healthy in mind, body, and spirit.  Apart from program management and other duties, Susan advocates for and conducts trainings in health literacy. One of her professional goals is to facilitate in eliminating health disparities. Her professional motto is “Educated to Serve,” and she counts it a privilege to serve the American Indian population.

Cari Stevenson, PhD Cari Stevenson is a professor at Kankakee Community College. In addition to teaching psychology, she co-advises the Veterans Association and coordinates programming to support student veteran transition, wellbeing, and academic persistence. She collaborated with student veterans to develop a Veterans Resource Center and student veteran mentoring program. She is a member of the Veterans Higher Education Affinity Group, a coalition of administrators supporting student veterans in Northern Illinois.

Khalilah V. Collins, MSW Khalilah Collins is the Project Manager for Making Connections NOLA.

John James John James is the Communications Coordinator for Making Connections NOLA.


Changing the Narrative and Sustaining the Message of Mental Well-Being Among Young Men and Boys July 14, 2020 – 2:00 pm ET – 3:00 pm ET

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