The third annual BRAVE Summit, a free event for teens that aims to break the stigma surrounding mental health, will the held on March 29, 2023, at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre. The event, hosted by Flagler Health+, is free and open to all high school students throughout Florida.
The Summit will feature some of today’s most captivating speakers, artists, and content creators who will hold panel discussions and group conversations focused on encouraging attendees to take charge of their mental health.
Attendees will hear from some of TikToks most popular mental health advocates and enjoy live music from local artists like King Peach, Kelp, and DJ Geexella. Participants can enjoy free food and drinks throughout the afternoon event, participate in an art contest, and they are eligible to win a variety of prizes ranging from gift cards to a Tony Hawk autographed skateboard, a surfboard, Apple headphones, and more. Students from St. Johns County can earn community service hours for attending.
With more than 500 students in attendance at last year’s Summit, this year is expected to have an even greater turnout. Allie, a 10th-grade student in St. Johns County, enjoyed her experience at the Summit last year and plans to return.
“Last year I realized that no matter what I’m experiencing, I’m not alone. There are so many other kids who are going through the same struggles and a lot of people who want to help,” she said. “The music was great too.”
“The work being done through the BRAVE Summit is vital to the youth of our community. We hope that these open discussions and the resources provided will be invaluable tools to help eliminate the stigma attached to mental health, resulting in a generation where mental health is considered an equally important part of the overall health of the individual,” said Carlton DeVooght, President and CEO of Flagler Health+.
There will also be a concurrent summit for parents, caregivers, and guardians to provide the resources needed for successful, productive conversations about mental health with their teens. There will be speakers to discuss fostering mental wellness and to understand how to talk to teens. Attendees will be provided with new tools and tips on how to talk to teens and learn about what it’s like for teens today to deal with the ever-changing landscape of managing their mental health. Participants will have the option of attending in person or virtually through zoom.
The BRAVE Summit is a centerpiece event of the BRAVE program. BRAVE, which stands for Be Resilient and Voice Emotions (BRAVE), was founded in 2019 and has already made significant progress in connecting high school teens to mental health resources. Before BRAVE’s implementation in St. Johns County Schools, only 35% of students who were referred to mental health providers were seen by a medical professional. With the BRAVE program, that rate has increased to 90% Since its founding and despite the pandemic, BRAVE has expanded into more school districts, including Clay, Nassau, Putnam, and Volusia Counties, with the ability to assist more than 170,000 students. The Florida House of Representatives approved $3 million in appropriations in the 2022-2023 budget to help BRAVE grow and expand into school districts throughout the state.
To register for either the student or parent event, or to learn more about the BRAVE Summit, visit bit.ly/BRAVE23LinkTree.