Morning Zen

Youth ERA Launches Website Offering Youth Peer Support Through Online Articles and Resources

August 28, 2019

“I’m feeling depressed; what should I do?” “My friend is having thoughts of suicide. How do I help?” “How do I manage stress?” Young people across the country pose questions like these on Google searches daily, resorting to Google to find answers, mainly when it seems like there is nowhere else to go for support around challenging issues.

A study published by Northwestern University confirms that 19% of teens search online for answers for stress or anxiety, and another 16% search for resources to help with depression. 49% of youth search for health information on Google, and another 20% search on YouTube; however, youth report that the resources they find are mixed on being helpful or harmful. The Northwestern study points out that youth aren’t always consistently getting the information or support they need through their existing networks. Only 55% of youth feel they get ‘good’ health information from their parents — and that’s all health information, not just mental health. The number for mental health is a lot lower.

It is this lack of options for finding answers that prompted Youth Era to create YouthEmpowerment.com, a peer-led website, designed to offer support and help through tough times. The website is home to articles, resources, and original content written by young people for young people. The site serves as an avenue to support a young person’s personal growth and emotional development by touching on sensitive topics in an inclusive and trauma-informed way. Youth ERA uses the strength of this web-based platform to empower youth on their mental health journey—giving them the tools they need to not only survive but to thrive.

As Martin Rafferty, CEO of Youth ERA, points out, “What is particularly unique and helpful about this website is the youth-peer authorship. Because the articles are written by youth for youth, it allows for youth to see themselves, their language and their culture reflected in the articles, which sends an overarching and powerful message: You are not alone.”

The Youth ERA design team created YouthEmpowerment.com to offer the look and feel of a safe place for youth to come and find resources and support. The website is designed to provide a safe space where young people can discover articles that speak to their individuality, be validated, and then guided to alternative solutions and options for helping them along in their personal journey.

YouthEmpowerment.com acts as a hub for self-empowerment and celebration of the individual on a modern platform that can reach thousands of adolescents and young adults at the click of a button. Young people may have questions they’re afraid to ask in person, so they seek out Youth Empowerment to help familiarize themselves with the answers in an inclusive, trauma-informed way.

Perhaps they want to learn how to take care of themselves better. Youth Empowerment has them covered.

Maybe they’re at the end of their rope and need a message of hope and inspiration to keep going. Youth Empowerment is available to offer that, as well as a crisis support directory, so no youth is without access to help if they need it.

The website is a platform of inspiration, community, acceptance, and hope–something so many people need.

"Most of the content on the website holds valuable information that I could've used to help accelerate my self-progression at a much faster rate."

- Karla

The website launches with more than 100 articles which help youth navigate issues covering top concerns for youth today. With clear drop-down menus and brightly colored, high energy gifs, articles are easily accessible by key topics including stress, coping strategies, anxiety, eating disorders, empowerment, mental health tips, healthy relationships, depression support, suicide, and more.

"Warm, welcoming, and makes you feel like you're a part of something when you get there."

- Tia

Hyperlinks are included within articles to redirect the reader to additional relevant information easily. Additionally, an easy to use, intuitive search box allows youth to search for issues relating to their most immediate concerns. With the ease of access, youth-driven graphics, and relevant and relatable content, youthempowerment.com meets a growing need for youth today.

Youth Era is also keeping the empowerment going through enlisting young adults who would like to submit articles to our platform. If you are a young adult, who wants to contribute through your shared lived-experience, tips and tricks, poetry, art, and other ways you’ve overcome your challenges, share your voice by submitting your articles here.


About Youth ERA
Youth Era is a youth-driven, national non-profit which offers youth peer support services through drop-in center models, virtual peer support, and online communities where youth spend their time. Visit www.youthera.org to see their impact.

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About the Author

Mordekai Tawney

Mordekai Tawney is an Online Youth Peer Support Specialist at Youth ERA—providing crisis and suicide intervention outreach services online, as well as managing the content and creation of YouthEmpowerment.com. It is his life’s passion to help others feel more connected to themselves, others, and the world around them.

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