MILWAUKEE — A mental health worker and her teenage daughter are trying to help improve the mental health of kids in Milwaukee.
Marrika Rodgers is a licensed professional counselor in Milwaukee. She and her daughter, Ny'emia Rodgers-Evans, joined other advocates to discuss mental health and trauma at City of Light Church on Milwaukee's north side Saturday.
"We can kind of all come and say, you know what, we're all dealing with something, and let's help one another," Rodgers said.
Last fall, the American Academy of Pediatrics and other prominent health organizations declared a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health.
"I know in my profession my clients have just shared tha anxiety and depression went to an all-time high," Rodgers said.
A 2020 study from the Jed Foundation shows close to two-thirds of parents reported their child experienced a mental or emotional challenge recently.
Amid a global pandemic and a rise in violence, Rodgers said we need to pay more attention to our youth.
"Some of them don't feel heard," Rodgers said. "Some of them are just kind of acting up because they want to have that voice because they feel like trauma has stolen their voice...Today was all about taking the muzzle off, letting them know that their voices are being heard and they are important to us."
Other parents at the event took note.
"Me having four kids even just taught me I need to be more in tune with my kids and just listen to their feelings," said Ninoshka Desarden.
"When a child doesn't want to talk, or a teenager doesn't want to talk, don't just let them walk away," Ny'emia Rodgers-Evans said. "Pull them back in. Just keep on trying, don't give up on our youth."
Rodgers hosts an event like this every month. More details can be found at her website.