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Tackling mental health issues in young people

Mental Health and Young People midday

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Being a voice for the voiceless and tackling mental health issues in young people was the focus of a live interview during News 8’s “midday “Midday” newscast Wednesday.

Chunia Graves, a mental health advocate and clinical therapist trained in youth mental health, discussed the importance of the topic and addressed stigma that sometimes surrounds it in the Black community.

Graves says “underlying issues” must be addressed when talking about mental health and youth.

“We must address the social determinants of health in order to combat the symptoms that I’m seeing and really address the underlying issues that are so prevalent and being communicated to me, from the youth,” Graves said in Wednesday interview with News 8 anchor Dakarai Turner.

Graves spoke about the stigma around mental health in the Black community, adding that perhaps, for years in Black culture, it may not have been recognized or labeled appropriately.

“That has only hurt. If we move forward and acknowledge mental health and (that) it’s all encompassing … we’ll then be able to address all the underlying issues.”

Graves also worked as a mental health liaison for VOICES, which, according to its website, acts to “enhance the lives of youth and families through the expression of self, community involvement, and providing options that will empower them to change their lives.”

The group is “doing amazing things in the community,” Graves said. Graves and her team at VOICES have a segment hosted by News 8’s Brittany Noble, called “Real Talk,” in which youth voices contribute to the dialogue. Those segments can also be found on the WISH-TV website.

Graves said it is a “youth-centered media initiative.”

“They have difficult conversations and they interview both experts in the field and youth,” she said.

In addition to her clinical and advocacy work, Graves is a finalist for the Junior Achievement Best and Brightest Award that honors 100 of central Indiana’s most outstanding young professionals in different industries.

Mental health resources