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New App Gives Youth Access to Mental Health Resources

RAPID CITY –A newly created mobile app from the Great Plains Tribal Leaders’ Health Board and the Oyate Health Center will give young people access to mental health professionals on a mobile device.

The Covid-19 Pandemic has created many obstacles for those needing mental health support. While quarantines, social distancing, virtual learning, and other prevention measures have proven effective at slowing the spread of the virus, many young people have been left without access to support.

“Mental health challenges in children, adolescents, and young adults are real and widespread. Even before the pandemic, an alarming number of young people struggled with feelings of helplessness, depression, and thoughts of suicide — and rates have increased over the past decade,” said Surgeon General Vivek Murthy in December as he called for more mental health support for youth.  “The COVID-19 pandemic further altered their experiences at home, school, and in the community, and the effect on their mental health has been devastating,” he added.

Created to provide youth with a caring connection to a community member and make cultural and wellness resources available, the Connecting With Our Youth Mobile App works to help prevent suicide.

Once the app is downloaded, youth using the app will have the ability to reach out to trained staff who can direct them to resources or provide mental health first aid as needed. All individuals providing support on the app have passed background checks and are trained approved volunteers.

The new app is part of an effort from the Oyate Health Center and the Health Board to expand behavioral health services to Native American people living in the area. OHC also added 14 behavior providers and purchased a second location at 725 Lacrosse Street to house them. CWOY is one of several grant funded programs under the health board that is helping to provide behavioral health resources to the community. The request for more services was made by the Rapid City Native American community in a 2019 Needs Assessment.

The Connecting With Our Youth Mobile App is available in Apple’s App Store and Google Play. Please download the mobile app on your smartphone to become familiar with the app. You can find the mobile app in the App Store and Google Play by searching for Connecting With Our Youth.

For more information, please contact CWOY Program Manager Trivia Afraid of Lightning-Craddock at [email protected]