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Fourth annual BRAVE Summit for teen mental health scheduled for March 27

  • Category: News
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  • Written By: Erin Wallner
Fourth annual BRAVE Summit for teen mental health scheduled for March 27
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With a focus on breaking the stigma that surrounds teen mental health, the fourth annual BRAVE Summit will be held March 27 at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre. The free event is hosted by UF Health St. Johns and is open to all high school students throughout Florida.

The BRAVE Summit provides attendees a safe place to talk to other high school students and support professionals about mental health topics while normalizing conversations about mental wellness. This year, students will be entertained by nationally recognized music artists Nicky Youre and Crash Adams and hear from captivating mental health advocates Kevin Hines and Odd Rod.

“In just four years, the BRAVE Summit has become an important means of outreach to youth, not only in our community but across the state,” said Carlton DeVooght, president and CEO of UF Health St. Johns. “It is rewarding to see this event grow year-over-year and to witness the impact it is having on making tough conversations about mental health more accessible.”

Participants can enjoy free food and drinks, prizes, giveaways, a photo booth, interactive games, a skate demo, art and poetry contests and more. Additionally, students from St. Johns County can earn community service hours for attending.

“The growth of the BRAVE Summit over the past three years has been inspiring,” said Paige Stanton, the event’s founder and executive director of UF Health St. Johns Care Connect. “We had more than 1,000 youth attend last year and are expecting even more this year. To reach as many young people as possible and to let them know about the resources available to them is our goal.”

The BRAVE Summit is a centerpiece event of the BRAVE program. BRAVE, which stands for Be Resilient and Voice Emotions, was founded in 2019 and has already made significant progress in connecting high school teens to mental health resources. Before BRAVE’s implementation in St. Johns County Schools, only 35% of students who were referred to mental health providers were seen by a medical professional. With the BRAVE program, that rate has increased to 90%. Since its founding and despite the pandemic, BRAVE has expanded into more school districts, including Clay, Nassau, Putnam, Okaloosa and Volusia counties, with the ability to assist more than 200,000 students.

The BRAVE Summit is not only for youth. There is a concurrent summit for parents, caregivers and guardians happening at The Elks Lodge from 3-7 p.m. aimed at providing the resources needed for successful, productive conversations about mental health with their teens. There will be speakers to discuss fostering mental wellness and to understand how to talk to teens. Attendees will be provided with new tools and tips on how to talk to teens and learn about what it's like for teens today to deal with the ever-changing landscape of managing their mental health. This is a free event open to any parent or guardian interested in learning about these resources.

Visit to learn more or register for the BRAVE Summit for students or adults.