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James Plastiras Director of Public Information New York State Office of Mental Health 518-474-6540 james.plastiras@omh.ny.gov

May 07, 2019

New York State Recognizes New York City Young Adult for Mental Health Advocacy and Awareness Efforts

Nivea Jackson, M.S. Honored for her Dedication to Amplifying the Youth Voice and Improving the Mental Health Care System

Albany, NY – New York State is honoring Nivea Jackson - the Youth Advisor for the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) - with the 2019 ‘What’s Great in our State’ Youth/Young Adult Award.

Nivea Jackson is a former foster youth who understands firsthand the effects of trauma on young people. Her lived experiences are integral to her work, and she uses her voice to enact change. Nivea was selected to be the Youth Advisor for the NYC DOHMH, where she ensures that the voices of youth and youth peer advocates are represented.

“Nivea Jackson has taken her challenging personal journey and turned it into a mission to improve outcomes for other young individuals. She is a shining example of how the dedication of one individual can have an impact on children and families that face mental health issues,” said New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan. “We thank all our honorees for their hard work and commitment to children’s mental health.”

Nivea was presented with the award at the annual ‘What’s Great in our State 2019’ event on May 7th in Rotterdam. The celebration recognizes the individuals and programs that are successfully advancing the cause of children’s mental health in New York State.

Nivea uses her voice to raises awareness of trauma, from mental health advocacy to foster care change. She helps to reduce the stigma and shame of foster care by speaking out and sharing her story, and she’s dedicated to improving policy through her role with DOHMH.

Nivea is also the President of Boldly Crowned, a nonprofit focused on healing through expressive arts for young women around the areas of mental health, healthy relationships, and self-esteem.  Boldly Crowned offers an eight-week program and self-empowerment workshops to address traumatic experiences, and such impact of experiences on women lives.

“Advocating for myself was the most difficult part of being in the foster care system, but it’s also a vital skill to learn and one that I have mastered,” said Nivea. “Utilizing my lived experience to advance and improve the child welfare and mental health system has become my passion. I feel like I have a voice, and I’m going to use that voice to push change as far as I can.”

For more information on Boldly Crowned, visit https://www.BoldlyCrowned.org.

What’s Great in Our State’

The ‘What’s Great in Our State’ event coincides with Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, a national movement that seeks to raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health and to show that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development from birth.

‘What’s Great in Our State’ started in 2010 and has expanded and evolved. It features a Governor’s proclamation declaring the week as Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, a ceremony recognizing our honorees, keynote speakers and an art show featuring artwork created by children receiving services from New York State’s mental health system.

This year’s celebration includes an expanded format that combines education, awareness and recognition. The new, full-day forum adds three breakout workshops to the schedule, focusing on the work being done to build Systems of Care across New York State. The expanded format uses funding from a SAMHSA grant dedicated to strengthening this cross-systems effort.

The event is planned and sponsored by six New York State agencies and a number of mental health advocacy organizations. For more information on the partners involved with this year’s ‘What’s Great in Our State’ event, visit https://conta.cc/2W5Ok   

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