Category

myHealth Story

Gala 2023: Thank You!

By | Blog, myHealth Story | No Comments
Thank you FOR MAKING THE gala a complete success!

Because of your generosity, we surpassed our goal of raising $100,000 at this year’s gala. Your contribution will provide access to services, treatment, and resources that young people in need otherwise couldn’t afford.

Vendors & Auction Donors

You stepped up for a good cause and gave us amazing items for our silent and live auction. Every year we are blown away by your generosity and creativity. THANK YOU!

Attendees

Just by coming, you showed your commitment to the cause of providing health care and education to youth. Thank you for making our event so fun.

Bidders

Thank you for participating in the live and silent auctions. The friendly battle of bidding was so much fun – and is going to make a genuine difference to myHealth and its clients.

Sponsors & Donors

Some of you chose to give above and beyond at the gala, and we were so humbled by your giving. Each donation is being invested directly into our work, and we couldn’t thank you enough.

Volunteers

We love ya, our dear volunteers! You make sure the night runs smoothly. It was so great to see returning volunteers and meet new ones excited to invest in myHealth’s mission. Your gift of time made a difference to us.

myHealth Staff

Our theme this year was myHealth Heroes. That’s you, myHealth staff! You choose to work at an organization that can’t pay you as much as a big healthcare system, but you decided this work was worth your time and passion. Thank you for all the amazing work you do to ensure that myHealth clients get all the care they need, whether it’s in the clinic, in the community, in a therapy session, or in the office. Thank you for being health care heroes; you are genuinely appreciated.

Pride 2023

By | Blog, myHealth Story | No Comments

June has held a celebratory air for me ever since the Obergefell vs. Hodges decision legalized same-sex marriage on June 26, 2015. I felt hope that everyone would be treated with greater dignity and respect as acceptance of LGBTQ+ people grew across the United States.

And you know what, even though a lot of LGBTQ+ news hasn’t been uplifting lately, some of that hope has been realized. There are so many people and organizations like myHealth that accept LGBTQ+ people as who they are. Affirming clinics are not a curiosity, but the norm in the healthcare world.

As the fight for our rights continues, I choose to see the amazing allies first, and the negative minority second. After all, Pride was first celebrated in 1970, not 2015. The American Psychiatric Association had not even removed homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses in 1970 and Pride still happened. Every year, we’ve chosen to see the good that is possible and proclaim our freedom from conformity.

Part of living in a space where you can be yourself is allowing others to be themselves. It’s important to myHealth staff to create that kind of a place. Whether it’s through community partnerships, cultural education, or patient feedback, we are always looking to learn more about the young people in our community and how to give them the care that they need in the way they want it.

I want to join all my friends at myHealth in wishing you a HAPPY PRIDE in 2023. Celebrate your identity, your freedom to be you, and all the hardworking people who fought for LGBTQ+ liberation.

To my gay brothers and sisters, my transgender siblings, and my straight allies: I’m Proud of You.

Constituency and Making Your Voice Heard

By | Blog, myHealth Story | No Comments

More times than not, people tend to feel powerless. It can be easier to think of the government as something large and beyond us. However, I tend to think differently. While at the end of the day, it is the government who can make legislative decisions, policy changes, and overall impact the way the country functions and prospers, there are individual steps that lie in the hands of constituents, that is the voters who elect the representatives both on a local and national level. 

It can be difficult to know where to start. How do you become an active participant in the decisions of the lives around you? How do you find a way to make your small but mighty voice heard amidst the major news outlets and sources? How can you educate yourself on your own community and the immediate issues around you? 

These are questions I don’t have all the answers to because I am learning too. Politics were never something on my radar, but during the past year, I have learned just how essential it is to understand what is going on today. Though much of what goes on within the world of politics can be foreign and completely unrelated to me individually, understanding politics and the division that exists in the United States today allows me to shape my belief systems. I have learned how valuable the vote is and that staying silent is never the answer to change. 

A great place to start is to ask this question: What are the causes and subjects that matter to me? In high school I knew I was passionate about accessible reproductive healthcare. Since I attended private school, the education I received in the classroom was insufficient in many ways. I became deeply passionate about ways in which healthcare can and ought to be more accessible to everyone. When I read current news, I keep an eye out for articles related to legislation and/or opinion pieces on healthcare, so I can better understand what is happening in different states and better establish my own stance and belief.

There is so much that remains deeply puzzling to me regarding politics. It seems like everytime I scroll through recent articles or turn on a news channel, I hear about an event or a topic that is new to me. It can be easy to get overwhelmed by the volumes of information available by a single click, but I think there is encouragement in that as well. With such a wide variety of concerns pressing our nation, there is bound to be something of interest to you. There is a cause out there with your name on it, and once you find it, you will feel the call to change. The things we care about are the things we fight for. 

So, where do you start? My first piece of advice to be an active constituent and voice in your community and/or on a federal level is to educate yourself. It sounds simple, but it can be extremely difficult to navigate the hundreds of news sources just for a little information on current events. When it comes to reading the news, I suggest reading multiple sources. No single source has it all, and there is a bias in most new outlets. 

Outside of understanding the day to day pressing concerns, it is equally important to understand current legislation. For the state of Minnesota, you can access this link to view all of the bills moving through both the House of Representatives and the Senate. To see what is happening in Washington D.C, you can view active legislation here. Progress can feel slow, but it is happening. Every day representatives, senators, and passionate individuals are working to make change happen, even if it is behind what seems to be closed doors. 

Pay attention to your own representatives. If you are unsure who your local legislators are, you can find out here. It is important to remember that the government is much more than a federal organization. It is a local body at work, influencing your everyday life. 

In high school, I cared deeply about making reproductive healthcare both accessible and safe. From that interest, I began to volunteer on the Youth Advisory Board for myHealth. It was an opportunity to stimulate my passions and work alongside similarly minded youth. In college, I am a part of a school organization that works to promote sexual health education on campus. 

Once you know what you are passionate about, the next step is to get involved and be outspoken. Knowing what you care about is important, but action is where things will change. Volunteer at organizations with the same passions as you, use your social media platform to raise awareness, and most importantly, take an interest because everyone is affected. 

Guest post by Morgan Hausback

Forming Positive Habits

Forming Positive Habits

By | Blog, myHealth Story | No Comments

It’s that time of year. Time for the inevitable New Year’s resolution. Ugh. Who needs this kind of stress to start out the new year? Not me. Especially after the truly awful events of 2020. But honestly, I do it every year anyhow. So here we go, again.

I have a piece of paper taped to my door that lists all the ways to ‘Find Your Happy Place.’ In fact, I placed several of them around my office in the hopes of encouraging others to find their happy place. Some of the things listed are a little unrealistic, but a few make sense to me and might help you find a way to start off the new year.

Take small steps towards your goal but do these steps every day. Habits are formed because you do them all the time. Maybe the small step towards being present is to meditate a few times a week, or for five minutes a day. Start small and work up to big. For instance, don’t scroll through social media when you’re with friends/family. Daydreaming during class or a zoom meeting? Make note of it and bring yourself back to what your teachers, classmates and peers are saying. Stay present.

Make a list of what you want to accomplish and mark off the accomplishments each day. I take pleasure in using a big black Sharpie to cross off to-do items on my list. When my list is mostly a sheet with lots of black lines on it, I start a new to-do list. It is cathartic. Also, a great way to stay organized and not ignore things that you know you need to do. Finishing things on a list will make you feel good about yourself and your activities.

Ask a friend to work on your new habit too. Telling someone about your goals will help you be accountable. Better yet, get your friend to work on a goal too. Having a partner to talk to and check-in with about what you want and how you are doing can be very rewarding. Knowing that the other person is looking for support from you and expecting to give you support back can help you both accomplish something big.

Give yourself love. Celebrate your accomplishments. Remind yourself that you are good enough and you are making a difference. Even if the steps feel small, a small win is still a win! Change takes time. Know that bad habits took time to develop and so will good habits. Track your progress and forgive yourself when you don’t accomplish everything the first week.

New Year’s resolutions often fail because we try to set our goals too high. Let’s be realistic, after 2020, accomplishing anything in 2021 that makes us feel good should be cause for applause! Good luck.

Gerilyn Hausback, myHealth Executive Director

Talk to your parents about sex

Let’s Talk

By | Blog, myHealth Story | No Comments

Guest Blog Post

myHealth for Teens and Young Adults wants to help foster a culture that allows young people to discuss their sexuality candidly. While it can be awkward or cumbersome to talk about sex, contraception, and dating, it is incredibly essential that teens have these conversations with their parents and other trusted adults.

The prospect of discussing sexual health and contraceptives with your parents can seem mortifying, but it is imperative in order to ensure that you are making responsible choices. Talking to your parents about sex can help you access critical resources for your sexual health, such as contraceptives, the HPV vaccine, and STD testing. Moreover, your parents may be a guiding force when it comes to sexual health, dating, and relationships. There are many tactics you can use to begin a discussion with your parents about these topics. For instance, you can brainstorm questions that you have to prepare for the conversation and let them know that you want to talk about something personal. Furthermore, it is entirely acceptable to immediately disclose that you don’t feel altogether comfortable discussing these topics but understand how it will benefit you. The Planned Parenthood organization also suggests using a reference to an article or show to bring up the subject. This strategy may help you transition into your specific questions more naturally.

Many of you may remain unconvinced, inwardly cringing at the thought of broaching such a topic with your mom and dad. While you may think that they will react negatively or with shock, it is more likely that your parents are willing to endure a little initial embarrassment to gain some insight into your life. After all, your parents care about you immensely, and they want you to feel comfortable coming to them for support. As odd as it may feel to consider, your parents were once in your shoes and had experience  navigating sexual health and relationships in their youth as well. Openly having a conversation with them about topics related to sex and dating will not only strengthen your relationship, but it will also allow you both to gauge each other’s thoughts on the topics. Doing this will ensure that you are on the same page. Above all, having a conversation with your parents will equip you with the ability to make safe choices about your health by showing you that you have someone to turn to for guidance.

Devna Panda, Youth Advisory Board (YAB) member

Isabel Mercado | Self-Care Blog for myHealth by Morgan Hausback

Why I Care

By | Blog, myHealth Story | No Comments

Guest Blog Post (get out and vote)

The morning after I graduated from high school, I received a congratulatory call from my grandparents. My grandpa spoke first. In his ever so endearing voice that only made my heart hurt more at the fact that he wasn’t celebrating with me in person, he relayed these words to me: “you are a lady of the world now”. He asked me if I felt any different. I did not. The only difference from the me now and the me 16 hours ago was the diploma laying on my desk.

A few days later, I was finishing up my second re-watch of “The West Wing” (more on that later) and suddenly, his words had some meaning. What does it mean to be a “lady of the world”? I don’t know. I don’t think anyone knows or ever will know. But as I let the words sit with me, I gathered and decided on this much: being a lady of the world, being of the world, means to be present, active and aware.

Present in the fact that I have been experiencing history through this pandemic and that one day when history is retold, I can say I remember where I was, what I heard and how I was changed. Active in my future as a college student because there is no time like now to take control over my own life and act on what I want to do with it. And finally, aware that the future is dependent on me and my ability to speak out, be passionate and be involved in the changing of the world.

That is a pretty big responsibility I realize. But this is a responsibility that I am so honored to take on. And I think you should be just as ecstatic as me.

In about a month, I get to vote in the 2020 Presidential Election. Just typing that phrase makes me giddy because it is something I have thought and read about enough to the point where I can honestly admit to excitement. Now, without getting politically deep or specific, I mention the vote. It is a basic constitutional right, and that alone is why I am excited for this chance. Let me repeat that. The vote is a basic constitutional right. There are so many ways in which a young person’s voice can be silenced. Despite lack of experience, lack of a following and lack of the legitimate power to induce change, by the age of 18, there is a clear way to contribute to change. That way is through the vote.

A year and a half ago, I had little to no interest in politics. Political agenda was not on my radar. While the events happening in the political climate made me react, I felt like nothing more than a bystander to the United States government.

It was then that my mom suggested I watch the show “The West Wing. A year and a half later, I have watched “The West Wing” twice through. My heart is warmed at simply thinking about Aaron Sorkin’s captivating drama. Perhaps, it is dramatic to say that this show is a necessity for everyone to watch. Although, my suggestion is that you should watch “The West Wing” if you are interested in politics or you wish to be inspired. The drama is not about the big picture items (though they do come up) but is about the constant work and effort being put into the United States to make it a better nation.

Highlighting a variety of characters in the White House, doing mostly side jobs and still ignoring thousands of other individuals with equally important tasks in the United States government, Aaron Sorkin instills in viewers the belief that good is possible. Good can be and will be achieved. But the task alone is never one man’s job. It is the work of young people, of educated people, of passionate people and more.

“The West Wing” taught me that when you feel obsolete, there are people working to make you feel worthy. While results can be daunting and take time, I choose to trust that work is being done. I choose to believe that the world never truly does stop to improve the lives of people.

We are members of a world that makes hopelessness far too easily accomplished. Far too many days, I find myself waking up feeling powerless, as if the entire world spins just to be out of my control. As the generation that has been cited as apathetic, I am beginning to realize this apathy is in fact a great weight that we do not know how to conquer or carry.

But what does this mean for you individually? You can be present, active and aware in your own community. Be mindful. Be compassionate. Believe that you are a huge role in this nation’s future. It all starts with one thought.

Young adults everywhere have the privilege to represent something bigger than themselves. According to National Public Radio (NPR), “Millennials and some members of Gen Z comprise 37% of eligible voters,” perpetuating this importance of voting. Instead of feeling despondent or finding flaws in politics to become furious about, you can do something. Educate yourselves about the candidates, and when November 3 rolls around, make a conscious decision that may seem miniscule but can be one small step towards change.

In the pilot of “The West Wing”, President Josiah Bartlet asks: “What’s next?”

What is next for us as college students? I’m glad you asked. Here are a few steps to take as November comes at us full speed:

  1. Register to vote!
  2. Educate yourself on the election and all the platforms.
  3. Finally, make an educated decision.

No one can tell you what to believe. Now is the time to start figuring it out for yourself. This is our future, after all. Today and every day pushing forward, I am a lady of the world. I am a citizen who has a responsibility to care and to work towards something greater than myself.

What are you today and every day? But more importantly, what do you stand for?

Morgan Hausback, student at St. Louis University

An English major and certified coffee addict who just wants to write her heart out.

myHealth Blog | Pivot in Pandemic

Pandemic Pivot Reflections as a College Freshman

By | Blog, myHealth Story | No Comments

Guest Blog Post

Hello!

My name is Maya Chadda. I was chairwomen of myHealth’s Youth Advisory Board in 2019 and am currently a student at Boston University. At BU, I’m studying advertising and journalism. I am a member of the school’s improv team (Liquid Fun), the newspaper’s Layout Editor, and a radio DJ. With classes, clubs, new friends, old friends, roommates, and a new city, first semester was a constant juggling act. Come second semester and online classes, I had to quickly adapt to a loss of independence, minimal social contact, and a general lack of control as I now live with my parents back in Minnesota. Come summer, I lost my job as a camp counselor at YMCA Camp Warren. I’ve been at Warren for probably ten or more years either as a camper or counselor. This was a hard adjustment, but I threw myself into a job at Target and volunteering efforts related to the Black Lives Matter movement in Minneapolis. 

So that’s a little on me, but what I really want to talk to you about is what it’s like for young people at this truly unique period and how to best act as a support system. 

Before I lost my job at Camp Warren, I remember my boss using the word “pivot” over Zoom calls, talking about how camp could operate this summer. At first, I was a little bothered by this term as it seemed like a desperate corporate attempt to promote optimism by the YMCA. However, as summer continued, I realized there is no better term to describe the day to day life of being a young person right now. We are constantly pivoting. Living with my parents has presented a lot of challenges for me personally. When I first moved in, I was of the mentality that my parents were my roommates. This, for obvious reasons, ended poorly. It’s hard to adjust and revert back to old dynamics. As I was pivoting, my parents allowed me the grace to mess up. We fought a lot and still do. They know that my overreactions are not a result of their actions but something completely different. They have faith that I will take back my words and apologize. I needed that and still do. Additionally, my parents and I made space to talk about what we are missing and mourning as a result of COVID-19, be it independence, hanging out with friends, or small things like high fives. Making space to talk about what we are or were missing made it easier for me, as a young person, to see my parents as equals and people experiencing the same things as me. I worked hard at setting boundaries. I told them sometimes after work or online classes, I’ll have my headphones on. That’s me signaling to them that I need some alone time. I’ve found that in all the pivoting, the two most important things for both a young person and adults (or parental units) are communication and grace. These past three months have been a huge adjustment for me, and as a result, my mental health has suffered. Through open communication and my parents’ acknowledgment of how hard this time has been for me, I’ve found ways to take care of myself, be it with daily affirmation cards, working out, routine, or having some assemblance of control through taking on small projects, like a garden. Part of my morning routine is reading an affirmation card from Louise Hay’s Powerful Thought Cards. The science is that by saying a positive affirmation out loud you reinforce the ideas through thought patterns. Speaking it into existence, if you will. My affirmation card for today read, “I am flexible and flowing. I am open to the new and changing. Every moment presents a wonderful new opportunity to become more of who I am. I flow with life easily and effortlessly.” I feel that this is more true now than ever. 

Maya, former Youth Advisory Board (YAB) member

My Senior Year During COVID | MyHealth Youth Advisory Board Member

My Senior Year During COVID

By | Blog, myHealth Story | No Comments

Guest Blog Post

Senior Year Reflections

It’s so crazy to think how quickly this year turned out for the class of 2020. I never would have imagined that this would be how my senior year ends. Although the Coronavirus had been headlining news for a few months before schools shut down, it was impossible to believe that there would actually be a shut down. I just kept thinking, “stuff like this doesn’t happen”. And then, once we got the calls that school was off for an indefinite amount of time, I stayed positive and was sure we’d be back in a few weeks.

At first, it was kind of nice, especially since online school didn’t start for me until a few weeks after school shutdown. Although it was a little boring, it was nice to have so much time to myself. I still was positive and had high hopes that the school year would eventually be back on.

Once it became clear the school year, including graduation and prom, were off, I began to cycle through feelings of disappointment, anxiety and dread. Some days aren’t so bad, but it gets hard to not overthink everything when I’m stuck at home all day. All the news articles and stories of how people are being affected by the pandemic has me more worried about my future, jobs, healthcare and money more than ever.

In the beginning of school shutdowns, my biggest worries were about missing prom and graduation. Now, I don’t care about either of those as much. Sure, it would be nice to have them, but now that I know I’m never going back to my high school as a student, I just don’t feel like a high schooler anymore. My school, along with many others, are trying to plan to see if we could move our prom and graduation to dates later in the summer, but honestly, that seems a little far-fetched. Even if the events are able to be held later on, I doubt many of my classmates are even going to go. It would just be too weird, and most of us have already put high school behind us and have started to embrace being a college kid (and hoping that our college freshmen year doesn’t get delayed).

Mostly, I miss seeing my favorite teachers every day. I miss seeing the cafeteria staff and having small conversations while they grabbed by food. I miss seeing the murals students painted on our walls. I know I would have missed all these things regardless of my year being cut short or not, but the fact that I never really got to say goodbye makes everything worse. As a freshman, I always thought about how sad it must be as a senior to be attending your last pep-fest, or even the last test you take as a high schooler. Now, as a senior, I didn’t even get to know my last was my last.

Honestly, I still don’t think I’ve fully processed that my year is done. I know that there are a lot worse things that are happening to people and senior year getting cut short isn’t that bad in the grand scheme of things, but it certainly isn’t how I wanted high school to end.

Srihita, Youth Advisory Board member

 

My stance on drugs - a personal story of a college woman and her older brother struggling with drug abuse

“My Stance on Drugs”

By | Blog, myHealth Story | No Comments

Drug use has admittedly not been an issue at the forefront of my mind through most of the high school. That’s not to say drugs haven’t been around, because of course, they have. Most people I know have experimented at least a little bit. Drugs have always been a part of the high school experience, from what I’ve seen. It’s never seemed like much of a problem, so long as it’s been limited to alcohol and weed, and even nicotine, although that one is a bit sadder. It’s human nature to want to try new things, but if a person wants to avoid drugs in high school it’s entirely possible. Nobody is going to force you to try their drugs, it’s a waste of money. My stance has always been that as long as people aren’t messing with anything too physically addictive, all is well. 

My stance shifted in March, after a college visit. I had a break between classes at the University of Minnesota when by chance I ran into my older brother, a couple of days into a hellish, week-long acid trip. I didn’t know exactly what was going on because he wasn’t making enough sense to tell me, but obviously, something was wrong, and so I dropped everything to try to keep him safe. Everything about the situation was shocking, because it was my brother, and because he’d always seemed so happy and healthy and not at all psychotic. Nobody tells you what to do in situations like these, and I wasn’t at all prepared to deal with it alone. I called my mom, and the police, and we got him to the mental health clinic on campus, and then into an ambulance, and to the hospital. We spent most of the day in waiting rooms. The doctor sent him home almost immediately, even though he obviously shouldn’t have. Everyone was too scared to make any noise in our house. I was too scared to be at home at all. After a few days, we got him back into the hospital, where he stayed for the remainder of the week. It was terrifying to watch him put himself through hell, without knowing when, or if, it was going to end. He’s doing much better now, but March was a bad month for my family, and it was especially awful for him.

The thing about my brother was that he never tried any seriously addictive drugs. He was making his fair share of questionable decisions, but none of them was the kind I would have taken too seriously before March. I got a bit more touchy about drug use when I realized anything could happen to anyone. Trauma does that to a person. Fundamentally, my views haven’t changed much, but my experience made me realize that there are some major issues when it comes to awareness and communication surrounding drug use. 

It’s unrealistic to tell kids to never use drugs. They’re going to do what they want, and if that’s to smoke weed and drink with their friends, so be it. Telling young people that they shouldn’t use drugs is about as effective as telling them not to have sex. Drugs aren’t going anywhere. Even when it looks like a common drug is dying out, companies specifically target young people with new iterations of the same thing, as we’ve seen with the fall of cigarettes and the rise of vaping. It’s not great, but it’s the truth. 

Instead of telling kids that drugs are bad and leaving it at that, even if they are, parents should try to aim for open communication. Most parents have probably at least dabbled before, and hiding that from their kids doesn’t actually do any good. It’s more hypocritical than anything. Similarly, freaking out when you find your kid’s weed isn’t going to make them stop smoking, it’ll just make them more paranoid about being caught again. I think that the best thing a parent can do is to make drugs seem less taboo by being open about them. Obviously encouraging drug use is a bad idea, but teaching kids to be safer in their usage is within reason. If people are being honest about what they’re doing, the chances of things getting out of hand are a lot slimmer. 

Parents should be a resource their kids can turn to if they need help, which means they need to come from a place of understanding. People should be taught that addiction is a health problem and not a moral shortcoming and that they have support systems in place, even if hopefully, they will never have to rely on them. They should be taught that a drug doesn’t have to be a scary, hard drug to be a problem. People should also have information available about the risks of drug use, and not just the “if you use drugs, you will die” type of information. It should be clear to people what they are getting into, and that they can get help for their drug use before it’s an emergency if they ever need it, and not get in trouble for it.

It’s never too soon for parents to start talking to their kids about drug use. It may not be fun or comfortable, but I would hope that the safety and competence that comes from an open dialogue is enough to outweigh the discomfort of talking about drugs with your kids. If you work at it enough, it should stop feeling awkward after a while. And to any young people reading, the chances are that your parents are more understanding and supportive than you think they are. Whether you need them or not, please trust that they are there for you.

Know that there are plenty of other resources to turn to when it comes to drug-related problems. Don’t be afraid to come to MyHealth with any questions you might have. In case of a more serious issue, here are some helplines:

24/7 National Drug Use/Addiction Hotline: 1-888-633-3239

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP

Lastly, if you are ever in a drug-related emergency and someone may be in need of medical assistance, don’t hesitate to call 911. Remember, it’s not illegal to do drugs, it’s only illegal to have them. Your safety is the top priority. 

 

$50K matching grant challenger to impact youth healthDonate now
+