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‘Collective Compassion’ Focuses on Jewish Teen Wellness for Mental Health Awareness Month

April 30th, 2020

Artist-Led Workshops to Increase Resiliency, Philanthropy Pop-Ups and Tools to Create Powerful New Rituals Support Teens, Parents and Youth Professionals

This May, the Jewish community is bringing the power of ‘Collective Compassion’ to National Mental Health Awareness Month (www.collectivecompassion2020.com).  Created by Jewish Teens Thrive, a project of the Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Funder Collaborative, Collective Compassion is a national response to the growing wellness needs of teens. Dozens of events and experiences, many in partnership with artists and organizations, draw on the power of Jewish creativity, culture, learning and values to support teens – and the adults that care about them.

Adolescence is a turbulent time, and COVID-19 is leaving many teens and their families reeling by creating a heightened sense of uncertainty, confusion and loss. We aim to both call attention to these challenges and offer teens and adults new self-care practices they can use all year long, and a deeper understanding of the many dimensions of mental health.
Sara Allen, Executive Director of the Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Funder Collaborative

Collective Compassion is free and accessible to anyone. Highlights include:

  • Creativity for Coping, a resilience-building workshop series led by Jewish artists including ‘Storytelling for Sanity,’ an intimate concert and open mic with musicians, movement exercises, and guidance on inventing new rituals to mark loss.
  • Finding Purpose & Meaning with toolkits for Mental Health Shabbats, integrating gratitude into daily lives and philanthropy pop-ups for teens to support local wellness organizations.
  • Education & Awareness with screenside chats and live Q&As with experts such as teen author and mental health advocate Sophie Regal, parent-focused discussions with Dr. Betsy Stone, and panels and trainings with youth professionals.
  • Curated books and quarantine playlists.

Addressing and supporting issues of teen wellness has always been a foundation of our work in our Los Angeles Teen Initiative. We know Jewish community, ritual, and values have a tremendous amount to offer to support and inspire families and educators in this increasingly critical area. The current COVID-19 crisis only makes this issue that much more dynamic and essential. Parents and educators in Los Angeles have really appreciated meaningful offerings and programming on these issues, and we look forward to continuing to serve as a key resource.
Shira Rosenblatt, Associate Chief Program Officer at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles

Those who work with teens are familiar with the statistics: One in 5 teens has had a serious mental health disorder; 50 percent of all mental illness begins by age 15; and among ages 15-24, suicide is the second leading cause of death.

Collective Compassion is supported by BBYO, The Blue Dove Foundation, Jewish Teen Funders Network, Jewish Teen Education & Engagement Professionals’ Network, Here Now, the URJ, the Mitsui Collective, Moving Traditions, and the Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit and harnesses the creative spirit and wisdom of many artists and educators.

Adds Allen, “In this moment we turn to each other and our Jewish tradition with the belief that unity is strength. We are inspired by the ‘Collective Compassion’ of our community as we come together to raise awareness, build resilience and ultimately thrive.”