Jeffrey Mosher speaks with Matthew D. Anderson, Executive Director of Engaged Outreach, Lansing, MI.
That Michigan based nonprofit focuses on mental youth health. In their discussion they cover:• What is Engaged Outreach?
• Why was it created?
• Who does the nonprofit serve?
• What areas do the programs focus on?
Hear Matthew's discussion with Jeffrey in the PodCast immeadiately below!
For even more on this topic, here is some press Matthew and Engaged Outreach had last month.
Statewide Nonprofit Focuses on Improving Youth Mental Health in Michigan Schools
Engaged Outreach focuses on developing social and mental wellbeing in students through proactive efforts, resulting in reduced instances in bullying and improved mental health.
February 2020, – Engaged Outreach, a statewide nonprofit focused on a proactive approach to developing social and mental wellbeing in youth, completed its pilot program with overwhelming success. Engaged Outreach is currently serving two districts, comprised of 200 students. In the past decade, Engaged Outreach has impacted the lives of over 3,700 students through its programs, and they hope to expand well beyond that number in the future. The need is overwhelming as youth and young adult suicide rates have been steadily increasing since 2007, according to the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services.
“Engaged Outreach was created to work with individuals within education to focus on mental health at the state and national level,” said Matthew D. Anderson, Engaged Outreach Executive Director. “Just last year, a young man in 9th grade, shared within our program that he was contemplating suicide every day. He told us no one seemed to notice he needed help because he seemed like an average student. At the end of the program, he shared that this experience saved his life.”
Many children are only offered mental health services reactively after they’ve demonstrated self-harm or have attempted to take their lives. Engaged Outreach’s programs focus on offering help before situations progress that far.
Anderson sees a need for all students to have the skills to cope and thrive through instances of depression or hardship. According to the Michigan Profile for Healthy Youth Survey, 37.3% of teenagers across Michigan display symptoms of depression. These young people feel sad or hopeless every day for two weeks or more in a row. Engaged Outreach programs focus on five key areas: developing resilience, grit, and agency; learning how to collaborate with others effectively; communicating for impact and to feel heard; leading one’s self and those around them to make smart choices; and learning how to self-manage and thrive when stress and anxiety occur in life.
"We strive to help young people improve their mental health," said Anderson. "We do this by connecting them with opportunities that prepare them for life in and after school, increase their likelihood of graduating, and instill skills that enable them to lead themselves for a lifetime. Our team does this through programming that develops agency to influence and shape a youth's future; to have a deep understanding of oneself and one's passions; and to give them the ability to be highly productive, adaptable under pressure, and impactful in all they do."
The Engaged Outreach team works to provide students with the tools they need to proactively improve mental health. At the end of the program, the students earn college credit that is equivalent to an Intro to Communications course.
As this program moves forward, Anderson and team hope to expand to help more children in need. They are currently working with legislators while also expanding the program donor base. Engaged Outreach is currently serving over 200 students every year. In the past decade, Engaged Outreach has impacted the lives of over nearly four thousand students through its programs, and they hope to expand well beyond that number in the future.
You can learn more about Engaged Outreach’s work and programs here.
About Engaged Outreach:
Engaged Outreach is a Michigan-based nonprofit that focuses on providing youth with the tools they need to succeed in life. They began operating in 2015, and since then, Engaged Outreach has impacted the lives of over 3,700 students through their programs. For more information, visit https://engagedoutreach.org/.