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Born This Way Foundation opens new youth advisory board

Mental health among youth has been more documented in recent years than ever before. In 2021, nearly one-third of high school students reported poor mental health with 1 in 5students reporting suicidal thoughts.

There are thousands of foundations and organizations that provide resources for this global issue. One of these foundations is the Born This Way Foundation.

They began more than 10 years ago and were co-founded by Lady Gaga and her mother who wanted to make a difference in the lives of young people. Recently the foundation has announced an advisory board of youth to create more resources.

River Ward
Photo permission by The Born This Way Foundation
River Ward

River Ward is a member of the Mi'kmaq First Nation of Natoaganeg and works as a Prevention and Outreach Coordinator and is one of 31 members on the board.

He says “Indigenous youth that is gonna see me on there and the mission we are doing, they’re going to feel heard and that sends a hope, right?”

Ward hones in on the importance of the board and the future impacts that could be made for youth and how to help heal generational wounds.

“We are here to help we are here to listen to any Indigenous person who might be struggling that there is support with love and care and understanding and that our voices will always be heard.”

The board is a year-long term and is composed of young people ages 15 to 24 years old. The youth come from different backgrounds in education, sex, gender, and race.

The board will create resources for communities around the world to utilize to emphasize kindness and understanding around mental health.

If you would like to get involved with this movement, you can go to the Born This Way Foundation website.

Hannah Bissett is a Dena'ina woman who is currently enrolled at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Hannah is pursuing an International Studies degree and is president of two student organizations on campus.