Governor, First Lady launch Youth Ending Stigma (YES) Challenge; student applications available

Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 12:00pm

BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum and First Lady Kathryn Burgum today announced the Youth Ending Stigma (YES) Challenge, designed to enable student-led initiatives and projects focused on eliminating social stigma surrounding behavioral health issues including addiction and mental health conditions.

The YES Challenge is a collaborative effort between the Office of the Governor, Office of the First Lady and the Office of Recovery Reinvented and is being funded solely by Dakota Medical Foundation.

“Kathryn and I understand that behavioral health challenges deeply impact students,” Burgum said. “We believe that the youth in our state are capable of transformative change in their schools and communities to be more inclusive and supportive and to help those struggling with addiction and mental health conditions.”

Students will be encouraged to submit proposals for an initiative to eliminate the social stigma of addiction and mental health conditions in their school and community over an eight-week period. Projects may include awareness campaigns, community open forums, social inclusion programs, peer to peer support groups and more. YES Challenge winners will receive statewide recognition and a grant up to $1,000 to implement their winning project or initiative. Student projects will be implemented from March through April of 2019.

“Social stigma remains a consistent barrier that prevents people from talking openly about their struggles, reaching out for help and connecting to vital resources and services,” Helgaas Burgum said. “The YES Challenge provides an avenue for the youth in our state to use their creativity, ingenuity and passion to offer solutions to ending stigma and create supportive cultures in schools and communities that talk openly about behavioral health issues.”

The YES Challenge information packet and downloadable applications are available at https://recoveryreinvented.com/get-involved/.