National Youth Mental Health Advocacy Forum Applications Open

SAFMH News Room

Applications for SAFMH’s Youth Mental Health Advocacy and Advisory Forum Are Open! Apply here by August 6th 2023 23:59 SAST!


The South African Federation for Mental Health (SAFMH]) is piloting a youth forum for national mental health advocacy. The forum’s purpose is for youth to get more involved in national mental health policy formulation, reviews and discussions, along with increased representation on mental health-related committees and forums, while also running awareness campaigns in their communities.

While any young persons who meets the inclusion criteria ranges can apply, SAFMH strongly encourages young people who self-identify as having lived experience of mental ill-health or psychosocial disability to apply. Applicants do not need to have any prior experience engaging with advocacy or policy, but you must have a passion for examining policy in depth and having discussions about these.

This is an advocacy forum, not a mental health support or clinical group. It is a voluntary, learning opportunity, not paid employment. However, data stipends and small seed funding for awareness activities will be provided.

About the National Mental Health Advocacy and Advisory Youth Forum: 

The pilot forum will aim to build the capacity, skills, and voices of young people in South Africa to create positive change in the country’s mental health awareness, advocacy, policy and systems landscapes. The forum will also support participants to develop a mental health awareness campaign. The virtual forum will run for six months (September 2023 – March 2024) and will be comprised of weekly, online sessions and additional monthly mentoring opportunities.

Participants must be available to meet weekly for about 2.5 hours a week, excluding December.

The forum will consist of four modes of learning:

  1. Training modules to develop knowledge and insights for mental health advocacy in South Africa. The modules will be composed of talks, panel discussions and practical workshops. The modules will build on each other and will include a strong emphasis on interaction between group members. The modules will be informed by a variety of resources, including the Orygen Global Youth Mental Health Advocacy Toolkitand the UNICEF Advocacy Trainingand SAFMH’s Digital Advocacy approach to advocacy.
  2. Thematic small group meetings, where forum members will select to participate in identified national advisory opportunities and add their voices to key mental health moments of their choice.
  3. Monthly one on one mentoring sessions with SAFMH’s project staff to help members develop skills tailored to their learning needs while gaining resources and building networks to enhance their mental health advocacy and awareness journeys. These sessions will be designed to be dynamic, personal and informal.
  4. Developing and leading a mental health awareness campaign (either virtually, in-person or a hybrid version) based on an area of your interest to help respond to a need in your community.

Eligibility Criteria:

Successful applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Aged 18 to 24 years of age at the time of application
  • Living in Cape Town or Johannesburg
  • Commit to about 2.5 hours per week for the forum for the six months (this will be split between the four learning areas outlined above)
  • Own a device (laptop, smartphone, tablet) that can support an online meeting platform (e.g. Google Meets, Zoom)
  • Passionate about mental health advocacy and wishes to create positive change in youth mental health

Apply here today!

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