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LaGrange Youth Council members learn about Mental Health Court, upcoming event to raise mental health awareness

Members of the LaGrange Youth Council recently visited the Troup County Mental Health Court to learn more about mental health in the community.

The LaGrange Youth Council is an advisory board composed of 24 junior and senior high school students from surrounding schools, who provide advice and counsel to the local governing body. The Youth Council gives the local youth a more formal role in the local decision making process.

The LaGrange Youth Council will host a free teen movie night at Sweetland Amphitheatre on Feb. 14. The event, “Bring Your Sweetheart to Sweetland,” starts at 5 p.m. with teenage musical acts performing. The movie “The Proposal” will begin at 6:30 p.m. 

The the event is for providing an activity for young people hosted by our Youth Council.

This group of young leaders voted to adopt the issue of mental health awareness and continues to learn more about local programs including the Troup County Mental Health Court. 

The event will also feature speakers from NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) of West Georgia. Proceeds from concessions will be donated to NAMI of West Georgia. Two dollars from every ice skating rental will be donated courtesy of Sweetland Amphitheatre. 

“I’ve seen first-hand the stress many teenagers are dealing with from overwhelming school pressure to more serious mental health issues like depression and suicide,” Youth Council member Emma Strickland said. “Encouraging mental health awareness and general kindness to others is something I feel strongly about addressing in our community.” 

Strickland and Libby Criswell, another LYC member, approached city leaders about the importance of understanding mental health awareness and the urgency of addressing this issue in young adults. 

Both Strickland and Criswell met with Mental Health Court representatives and recently attended a Mental Health Court session. Mental Health Court Judge Quillian Baldwin spent time with the two after the session to explain the court’s beginning and applauded their efforts. 

The two are so passionate about making positive change in the community, both plan to serve as pages for Georgia State Represenative Randy Nix in this year’s legislative session. 

“As I’ve gotten older, I have become more aware of the mental health struggles of those in my community and around the world. I think this is an issue that really needs to be addressed and that, as citizens of LaGrange, we all have a responsibility to become more educated about this topic,” Criswell said. “It is very important to me. I hope that I will be able to encourage others to show support and kindness to everyone around them and that the stigma surrounding mental illness can ultimately be lifted.”