NEXTGen Balance aims to break the stigma around mental health in the young adult Jewish community.
The stigma surrounding mental health makes it difficult to talk about openly. To help counter that stigma, NEXTGen Detroit has created Balance, a program intended to bring awareness to (as well as provide education and resources about) mental health in the young adult Jewish community.
Balance is the brainchild of NEXTGen Detroit Board members Marni Lieberman, Michael Baum and Alex Scharg. They said their main goal over the next year is to help break the stigma around mental illness among young adults with programming that increases awareness across a variety of related topics.
“For a young adult, there is a lot of change in adjusting to living on your own, starting a new job and living in a new community,” Baum said. “It is also a time of increased responsibility: entering a serious relationship, getting married, becoming a new parent, getting a promotion at work or starting a business. There is a higher likelihood of feeling isolated during these times without a strong support system.”
That’s where Balance comes in, as well as programs such as Federation’s “We Need To Talk” (WN2T) initiative, which is a key partner in NEXTGen Detroit Balance’s work. WN2T is a youth mental health initiative aimed at changing the way our community thinks and acts regarding youth mental illness.
Balance initially launched Dec. 18 with a program featuring former University of Michigan lineman Will Heininger, who suffered from depression throughout college. He shared his story and answered questions from participants.
The team is currently brainstorming ideas for upcoming programs, including an event exploring mental health issues for new parents, meal prep on a budget with a chef/nutritionist, managing stress in the workplace and how to help a grieving loved one.
“NEXTGen Detroit does not claim to be mental health experts, nor do we think we can solve the very complicated issue of mental illness,” Baum said. “However, we can help bring in experts to educate and we can promote the importance of mental health-related tools and resources, such as WN2T.org. We want to encourage people in our age bracket especially, who are experiencing so much change in their lives, to live in balance and to pay attention to their mental health.”