To build a more youth-centered, equitable, and prevention-oriented behavioral health system, it’s imperative that the CYBHI actively engage with youth and families at every step. One way we accomplish this is through youth boards. Over the next several months, we will introduce you to one dynamic youth from each CYBHI board. These interviews will share information about the young person as well as details about their work within CYBHI.

Hearing directly from youth has been core to CYBHI since its inception. In 2022, 29 organizations were commissioned to convene nearly 50 separate meetings, engaging more than 600 individual young people, families, and community members in sharing their insights and experiences. These conversations led to the creation of the Youth at the Center Report which is a summary of the community’s vision: a system of care designed with youth at the center. When looked at collectively, 12 calls-to-action emerged from these conversations with youth, families, and communities that describe how all of us – regardless of role – can transform systems, reimagine services, and shift thinking. Here’s just a sampling from the report:

“A better way to foster ‘community engagement’ is to ask our communities what we need and support us in attaining the resources, while removing administrative barriers, to attain the outcomes and vision that we all seek.”


“We are tired of hearing about community engagement. We need true partnerships. We need to move to collaborative decision making. We need to understand that the community has the information that will solve the problems. Government needs to have the courage to truly go in and partner with the community on decision making.”


“Youth do not want more campaigns that ‘empower’ them. They want self-determination to make their own decisions and believe they should be the drivers of what they need from a behavioral health standpoint.”

We urge you all to read the Youth at the Center Report, in addition to reading about the work youth are doing on the various youth boards, as it is their voices and experiences that drive this initiative. We look forward to sharing these stories with you!

If you’re interested in highlighting your Youth Board’s work, please contact us.