MFEI Scholars Design Solutions to Address Mental Health in Oakland Schools

Since last year’s RESET, the team has met monthly, calling in from their dorm rooms and college study areas, to plan and develop their original design for “Project Uncover”: A workshop series for 9th grade students at Skyline High School in Oakland to raise awareness among students and teachers of common mental health disorders that teens often face personally or in their communities with little to no awareness of support: Anxiety Depression, Bipolar Disorder. Project Uncover was motivated by each Team Gr8 scholar’s own experience in school seeing the effect that mental health stigmas had on their friends, families and their own lives. 

The team’s coach, Megan Rees, a Bay Area mental health clinician and educator, has been a keen advocate and support for the team, and has linked them to local networks where they have recruited professional facilitators to conduct the workshops. MFEI has served as the “systems change” coach, mentoring the team in design methods of continuous improvement to frame the project, and training them in the development of impact measures and data analysis to help them see the tangible difference their efforts will have in schools.

The team’s greatest lesson in flexibility, however, has been learning first hand the patience and persistence needed to do systems change work in schools and districts. While Project Uncover has been met with great support from Skyline and district administrators, standard school and district policies and protocols for research and partnerships, along with navigating their own college schedules with that of administrators and educators pushed back the original project timeline to the fall of 2018. Undeterred, the team is excited to get together to continue their preparations this summer and has the support of the district and the school to test their workshop series at Skyline in the fall.

Team Gr8’s progress and plans will be showcased at this year’s RESET Vol. 3, to be held on August 2nd, 2018 at 2000 Franklin Street in Oakland. If you are interested in supporting the event, a RESET team or coaching the next Youth Design Team winners, please contact MFEI at info@marcusfoster.org.
 

Basma Khairy