MIMH’s new initiative makes local young people agents of change around substance abuse, HIV and hepatitis prevention


The free seven-week program is open to minority male and female students ages 13 to 24 and runs from Oct. 25 to Dec. 13.

A new partnership between the Missouri Institute of Mental Health and The Michael Brown Chosen for Change Foundation’s Sisters in Purpose aims to not only educate St. Louis-area young people around key health issues but ­draw on their influence in powerful ways.

Known as Project Y-ChatNow, which stands for Youth Changing Health Awareness Trends Now, the effort is a free seven-week program open to minority male and female students between the ages of 13 and 24. It begins Oct. 25, with meetings twice weekly (except the week of Thanksgiving) through Dec. 13.

MIMH, which is part of the University of Missouri–St. Louis, has modeled the initiative after its popular Girls Holla Back! project. Project Y-ChatNow seeks to increase students’ knowledge about substance use, HIV and hepatitis prevention as well as encourage participants to share prevention messages in their communities.

“Participants engage in interactive educational workshops utilizing evidence-based curricula during the first half of the program,” an Oct. 10 press release read. “The youth and young adults then team up to create unique social marketing campaigns featuring key prevention messages that are promoted in designated St. Louis neighborhoods.”

On- and off-site behavioral health counseling, substance use screenings, and testing for HIV, sexually transmitted diseases and hepatitis for participants and their family members will be provided by partnering agencies, including Williams & Associates and the St. Louis City and County Health Departments.

The program also offers several other free perks, including daily refreshments, community service hours for all time spent in the program and daily prize giveaways. Funding for Project Y-ChatNow is from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

To participate or request more information, contact MIMH’s Kellin Carter at 314-516-8487 or Kellin.Carter@mimh.edu – or register online at projecty-chatnow.org. Sessions take place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays at the UMSL ITE facility (4633 World Parkway Circle).


Short URL: https://blogs.umsl.edu/news/?p=70741