How do Get Teens Talking about Mental Health? An LOHF Grant Funds the Envision U Symposium

Photo courtesy of IU13

The teen years can be a difficult time. These years are often academically and socially challenging. And as bodies and minds are changing and growing, mental health can also shift. According to Mental Health First Aid, up to 75% of mental health challenges emerge during adolescence, and one in five teens has experienced a serious mental health disorder at some time in their life.

In Lancaster and Lebanon Counties, IU13 has developed a three-day event for teens to help them understand and cope with behavioral and mental health issues that may be encountered in themselves, their loved ones, or as a part of their future careers. Dr. Katherine Schultz, Early Childhood and Special Education Services Supervisor at IU13, explains, “Our program was designed to serve high schools students in the district with mental health concerns for themselves or a family member. It’s also designed for students who are interested in the mental health field.”

A Three Day Mental Health Symposium for Students

Envision U Symposium is a series of three workshops that aligns with PA Academic Standards. The “The Mindful U” workshop focuses on mindfulness, self-care, and healthy habits. “The Resourceful U” shares details on how to identify mental health warning signs, access mental health resources, and overcome barriers to positive health. In the final session, “The Best U,” students learn skills in self-awareness and self-advocacy.

“This kind of deep and is important in high school,” Dr. Schultz adds, “because at this age they are transitioning to into work, school, and life.”

Envision U Symposium also allows Lancaster County teens to make connections, build support networks, and create partnerships with students around the country. “These connections can help with recovery,” Dr. Schultz notes, “or start relationships they’ll need as they move into the mental health field.”

LOHF is providing primary funding for the 2021 Envision U Symposium. The grant allows IU13 to get nationally-recognized speakers, a conference space, and meals for the attendees. Attendees are encouraged to journal and are given tools and techniques that enable them talk with other students to explain the strategies and resources that they’ve discovered. Sharing newfound knowledge and skills with family members and peers amplifies the power of the program.

About LOHF Grants

LOHF’s grants elevate youth and children’s mental well-being by supporting local programs that help us answer one or both of our two big questions: How can we build the talent pipeline in behavioral healthcare for youth and children in Lancaster County? And how will we improve access to mental well-being for youth and children in Lancaster County?

We encourage applicants to replicate existing successful models and work collaboratively with others to improve mental health services for youth and children ages birth to 26. Additional funds will be available in Spring 2021. To learn more, please visit