Youth Create Wholeness is the youth program of VOCAL (the Virginia Organization of Consumers Asserting Leadership). We are run by and for youth with mental health disabilities in Virginia, with input from elders and allies.
About our blog
This is a virtual space where we express ourselves and share our personal experiences with creating wholeness as youth with mental health disabilities. Allies are also welcome to share. In addition, we share our strategies and resources for transforming ourselves and our communities. We are also reaching out and building community among youth, people with disabilities, and allies in Virginia and elsewhere.
Some important notes
This blog is primarily run by A’ishah Hils of Resistdance, who does social networking outreach for VOCAL. Any questions, suggestions, or concerns can be emailed to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We welcome submissions from all youth with mental health disabilities and allies. Because it is sometimes dangerous for us to share our real names for fear of losing our jobs or having our educations and lives affected by being labeled as people with mental health disabilities publicly, we welcome folks to post and share under their real names, under a pseudonym, or anonymously. We do not post images of people involved with VOCAL Youth Create Wholeness unless we have their express permission.
Although Youth Create Wholeness is a project run by VOCAL, this blog contains the personal experiences of youth with mental health disabilities and their allies – not all of whom are directly involved with or members of VOCAL. This blog is a space for OUR personal experiences, self-expression, strategies, and resources – NOT any sort of policy or position statement by VOCAL as an organization. We share links for education and personal interest only – our sharing of links or news articles does not constitute an endorsement by VOCAL as an organization in any way.
VOCAL Youth Create Wholeness Mission
Our mission is to empower youth with mental health disabilities to transform their communities and selves. We encourage youth to define and discover their own paths to recovery and wellness, and provide the tools to work within the mental health system as well as to build alternative systems of support. We do this work through sharing our own experiences and knowledge. We build power and community through self-expression.
We know that our identities as people who have experienced emotional turbulence, mental health crisis, or extreme states of consciousness (commonly labeled as “mental illness”) are lived in context of our background. We are not just our diagnoses or our lack of diagnosis; we are human beings and we are complex. We know that only by affirming our lives and experiences as people with different kinds of dis/abilities, people of many faiths or none, people of color and indigenous people, poor and working class people, and people with varying expressions of sexual orientation and gender identity, can we integrate ourselves and our communities and live in wholeness.
We learn from our elders and from each other’s diverse experiences and we pass on what we know. We affirm that creating wholeness is a living process of individual and community transformation.