ARPA Youth Mental Health Photovoice Projects

About the RAHD American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Youth Mental Health Project

Why Youth Mental Health?

In 2022, the Community Health Assessment (CHA) was completed for PD16. The Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) was created based on data from the CHA. The community identified 3 priorities they wanted to focus on improving:

1. Access to Healthcare

2. Affordable Housing

3. Mental Health

Upon completion of the CHIP, RAHD received grant funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to improve community engagement. After reviewing the CHIP and its priorities, RAHD decided to use some of these funds to hear directly from youth about their experiences with mental health and their suggestions for how to improve mental health in our community via a photovoice project.

What is Photovoice?

Photovoice is a research methodology that utilizes photography as a means of collecting qualitative data about a subject. This methodology gives creative freedom to its participants and thus, produces more personalized insight and data.

What Did the Project Look Like?

This fall, RAHD met with students across PD 16 to get their take on what mental health looks like to them and how they think can best be supported. Students were given two weeks to take pictures according to three prompts. Following those two weeks, RAHD conducted focus groups for each prompt, where students had the opportunity to see their peers’ pictures and discuss the prompt more in depth. The final meetings focused on planning their project exhibitions.  Each cohort chose to do a virtual exhibition of their project. The students chose the title, color scheme, and layout of their exhibition. Every student shared a nuanced and enlightening perspective on mental health which you’ll be able to see as you scroll through this exhibition.

For participating in the project, students received lunch at every meeting and a $50.00 gift card.

The RAHD team is in the process of conducting a second cohort in partnership with additional localities during the spring semester. Once the data has been collected, it will be compiled with the first cohort’s data. Everything will be reviewed and analyzed, and the RAHD team will identify and implement a strategy to improve mental health outcomes.

For more information on the RAHD American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Youth Mental Health Project, contact Ellen Justesen at


CMS Photovoice Instagram Page


Through Their Lens