Milwaukee-area teens try to impact mental health in Black community

Aviona Escarlluett and Nadia Nwagbaraocha in June at the YMCA Youth Governors Conference in Washington, D.C., where they presented their "Changemakers" plan.

Two Milwaukee-area high school students grew up seeing people in their neighborhoods struggle with everyday life.

The memories stayed with them.

And when they saw the chance to have some impact, they took it. 

Aviona Escarlluett and Nadia Nwagbaraocha both attend Brown Deer High School and will be sophomores this fall. As freshmen, they were presented with the opportunity to be a part of the YMCA’s Changemakers Project. For the project, they had to choose a problem that is prevalent in Milwaukee.  

They focused on how segregation is a barrier to accessing proper health care and mental health treatment, Escarlluett said.   

“When I was younger, I lived in segregated areas in Milwaukee. Some people would think like, oh, you’re a child, you might not know or you might not face adversities. But you know, it really hurt me to see my own people struggle and not be able to get out of the pain that they’re facing every day,” Escarlluett said.  

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