Today on the 425 Show I was honored to chat with three amazing women committed to bringing awareness to the real struggles teens face. Valerie Horvath, Vanessa Jones, and Allison McElroy and their team of 10 started the Youth Mental Wellness Program, now known as Balanced Mind, in an effort to fill the gap for The Lake Washington Schools Foundation health programs. Their focus is educating adults to the distinct risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents – particularly when it comes to suicide prevention.

50% of all lifetime mental health cases begin by the age of 14; 75% by age 24, with signs starting to appear as young as elementary school. It’s real. The Youth Mental Wellness program offers online resources, and builds understanding of the importance of early intervention, and teaches individuals how to help youth who are in crisis or experiencing a mental health challenge.

Valerie, Allison, and Vanessa all know the struggles of getting their own children to open up about their feelings.

One of the things they focus on is helping kids realize that mental health issues are treatable. The ladies and their team are passionate about bringing awareness and resources to parents, to help them over the hurdle of communicating with their children’s issues. Offering additional online resources such as The Youth Health Survey, which measures health risk behaviors, social problems among youth in Washington state. These behaviors include alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use, that result in unintentional and intentional injuries.

OSPI Social Emotional Learning Standards, Benchmarks and Indicators, is a great resources to build awareness and skills in managing emotions, setting goals, establishing relationships, and making responsible decisions. For more information on LWSF’s next Youth Mental First Aid training in September visit their website. The training offers tools to learn how to help a child experiencing mental health challenges.

For younger kids, check out their Peer-To-Peer Mentorship program. Serving grades 3-8, this teen-led program supports youth mental wellness by encouraging lasting friendships between peers through community service.To help donate to the YMF, or sponsor a community visit their donation page.

If you or someone you know has thought about, or shared their thoughts of suicide there’s hope! Contact your local schools for their mental health programs, and for more online resources contact the crisis hotlines below.


In today’s real estate talk, check out the stats below of what’s happening in the market.