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The mental health education component of the ACCESS program curriculum is based on six-modules found in the Mental Health & High School curriculum: Understanding Mental Health and Mental Illness version 3 (USA Edition: Washington State), which was substantially modified and enriched with culturally relevant material.


ACCESS was designed under the premise that it is not only important to expose adolescents to mental health careers and the steps necessary to be successful in those careers, but to be exposed through other students and professionals of color that are further along in the professional pipeline. Due to stigma and other cultural, economic, academic and social factors, mental health careers may not be a readily explored option for many in the communities of color. ACCESS does not assume youth participants come in with interests in mental health careers. Rather, by exposing youth to mental health professionals of similar multicultural backgrounds, ACCESS hopes to reduce stigma and ignite a passion to address mental health disparities.

For information on becoming a career exposure site or presenter, email

ACCESS 2019:

The 2019 Summer Pilot cohort focused its efforts on engaging youth with African ancestry (African, Caribbean, Afro-Latinx, African American) who identify as Black. Future cohorts will include youth of ALL multicultural backgrounds that are underrepresented in the field. Youth were exposed to the following Black professionals across several mental health occupations:

  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Social Workers
  • Licensed Mental Health Counselors
  • Mindfulness Coaches
  • Crisis Management and Conflict Resolution Specialists
  • Expressive Arts Therapists
  • Academics and Authors
  • Human Service Professionals
  • Trauma Behavioral Specialists
  • Undergraduate, Masters-level, and Doctoral students
  • College Admissions Staff
Youth participated in workshops and discussions at:
  • Brandeis University Counseling Center
  • William James College – Center for Multicultural and Global Mental Health
  • Boston Medical Center – Department of Psychology
  • Riverside Community Care
  • Massachusetts Mental Health Center – Center for Early Detection, Assessment & Response to Risk for psychosis (CEDAR) clinic
Youth created, presented, and facilitated:
  • Mindfulness workshops
  • Public Service Announcement Projects
  • Public Expressive Art projects
  • Provider Trainings on how to engage youth of color
  • Conflict Resolution workshops with teens from The Hip Hop Transformation program


We are committed to delivering high quality and enjoyable services to our youth. To assure and improve our program quality, we frequently assess our youths knowledge and perceptions of mental health literacy and careers, changes in attitudes toward mental illness and treatment, overall program satisfaction through psychometrically tested and sound self-report measures, feedback and reflection activities, and daily individual and group wellness check-ins.



Healing Spaces (SPRING 2020):

In collaboration with youth from The Hip Hop Transformation program, ACCESS participated in a mental health advocacy, action, and awareness raising initiative in response to racial tension after the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. The Healing Spaces initiative at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School provided the platform and resources for access to create a compelling campaign for on-going youth-led stress management, group processing, and anti-racist action and planning space to be imbedded in the high school. Their campaign consisted of the development and administration of a school climate survey, mindfulness meditation virtual workshops, and spoken word/monologues.

Special thanks to friends of ACCESS: Mindfulness coach, Nyell Jeudy; Professional acting coach and founder of The Triggered Project, Keith Mascoll; and Program Director/Engineer David “Lightfoot” Below, of the Hip Hop Transformation program for their generous contributions to this important project.

ACCESS Summer 2020

The summer 2020 cohort emphasized exposure to physiological-,health-, neuroscience, and sports-psychology to enhance youths’ understanding of the connection between physical and psychological well being (i.e. the mind-body connection). This was particularly important given the increased stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Youth engaged in daily workouts followed by explanations of neurological and psychological systems involved and affected by physical activity. To broaden their impact to other teens, youth developed their own workout, mindfulness, and psychoeducation videos to share with their community across various platforms.

ACCESS Fall 2020

The ACCESS fall program was introduced to program development, grant proposal writing, and multisystemic intervention. Youth developed a mini-grant request for funding proposal for an initiative that will address accessibility to mental health resources for vulnerable populations in their community. In preparation for their proposals, youth studied ecological systems interventions, developed logic models and specific interventions aimed to increase access to mental healthcare. Additional emphasis was placed on financial literacy, college access.

“I look at mental health the way I look at physical health. You have therapists and psychiatrists that you can sit down and talk to and figure things out, and work through these issues. So it's okay to not be okay. And it's okay to say you're not okay.
And if people think you're crazy, so what? You know what's crazy? Not getting help for it.”
– Charlamagne Tha god