Behind-the-Scenes of a Mental Health Initiative for Gen Z, By Gen Z

Niku Sedarat
Niku Sedarat

In the face of a youth mental health crisis, the urgency for inspiring mental health change has never been more apparent. U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy has sounded the alarm, highlighting that a youth mental health crisis is already brewing. Startling data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that more than one in five youth ages 13 to 18 grapple with serious mental illnesses at some point in their lives. We have heard these statistics over and over again, and it is time that we take action. Introducing Unité: a youth-based mental health initiative focused on destigmatizing mental health and fostering emotional resilience in youth communities striving toward this goal, and founded by me — a Gen Z mental health advocate. 

Photo in a polaroid frame of Unité, a mental health initiative by and for Gen Z, at the 2023 Active Minds Conference. A second polaroid photo behind the main photo has a green and beige pattern.

Unité aims to increase mental health education, awareness, advocacy, and resources to work towards the greater goal of cultivating mental well-being among youth and adolescents. A distinguishing hallmark of Unité’s approach is its unwavering commitment to meeting young individuals right where they are. By harnessing the power of its website and social media, this initiative seeks to create a safe and engaging space to increase education and awareness about mental health and psychology. The “Dive Deeper” series, hosted on our Instagram, delves into the complexities of various mental health challenges facing youth. It provides a comprehensive exploration of risk factors, early warning signs, and a plethora of resources, allowing youth to comprehend these issues efficiently. Further, Unité’s articles, infographics, resources, and videos strive to cultivate a culture where youth are better informed about mental health. 

Unité also strives to increase education despite borders and barriers. Recognizing the need for universal access to mental health education, Unité has created its “Global Mental Health Hub,” where we disseminate multilingual mental health resources. By providing translated informational infographics and articles, Unité ensures that language and stigma are no longer barriers to seeking a better understanding of mental health and psychology topics. 

Day 1 of the July Journaling Challenge from Unité, a mental health initiative by and for Gen Z.

Throughout the summer, Unité released a powerful initiative – the July Journaling Challenge. With a daily dose of free journal prompts throughout the month, the initiative aimed to guide youth and adolescents through accessible self-care techniques. This simple yet impactful endeavor illuminated a path toward nurturing emotional well-being, proving that change can indeed begin within oneself. The journal prompts can be found on our Instagram.

In a testament to our work in the mental health space, Unité recently attended the Active Minds 2023 Mental Health Conference. Invited to showcase our work at the Innovation Expo, Unité stood as a shining example of the mental health change that youth can make.

Undoubtedly, we are in a youth mental health crisis. However, organizations like Unité and Active Minds reveal the power each new initiative has to make mental health change and increase well-being within our communities — they show the incredible capability of Gen Z to truly be the mental health change we need to see.