May 17, 2022

Advisory Boards to Host ‘Break the Taboo-A’ Virtual Forum on Youth Mental Health and Substance Misuse on Thursday, May 19

‘Break the Taboo-A’ Virtual Forum

Three Montgomery County advisory boards will co-host "Break the Taboo-A," a virtual forum on youth mental health and substance use, from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, May 19. The forum, designed for youth, parents and guardians, will highlight signs of youth mental health and substance use concerns and where to find resources in the community.

The event is s collaboration between the Montgomery County Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Advisory Council, the Mental Health Advisory Council and the Citizen’s Review Panel for Children.

For more information on how to participate in the forum and to register, click here.

“It is now more important than ever for Montgomery County to hold an event focused on youth mental health and substance misuse,” said Celia Serkin, a member of the forum planning committee. “The COVID-19 pandemic has had serious negative impacts on the mental health and psychological wellbeing of children, youth and young adults and their families, particularly for groups at-risk of new or exacerbated mental health and substance misuse challenges and those facing barriers to accessing care. The COVID‑19 crisis has turned into a mental health and substance misuse crisis for young people. During the youth panel, young people will help us understand their needs and challenges and what has or has not worked for them.”

The forum will include youth programming planned by members of the Youth Ambassador Program and separate programming for parents, guardians and those who work with or care for youth. Youth will participate in youth-led sessions, learn about substance use and mental health warning signs, coping skills and ways to help.

Students can earn Student Service Learning hours for participating.

Parents, providers and community members will hear from the Center for Anxiety and Behavioral Change and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration on ways to support youth and learn how the Surgeon General's Call to Action on Youth Mental Health is being implemented.

There will be a mental health and substance use panel discussion and a question and answer session facilitated by Rolando Santiago, chief of behavioral health and crisis services for the Department of Health and Human Services.

The evening will conclude with a virtual resource fair that will allow attendees to speak directly with representatives from local organizations.

Anyone with accessibility needs who wants to participate in the forum (e.g., an interpreter for ASL, Spanish, Chinese, Amharic, or another language) should e-mail Diane Lininger by May 15 to request accommodations. She can be contacted at