The youth mental health crisis is at an all-time high. Increasingly, children and youth continue to experience poor mental health outcomes.

Please join us in investing in their future by donating to the “Our Right to Smile” campaign today.

Since the start of the pandemic, 69% of public schools have reported an increase in the percentage of students seeking mental health services at school. 1 in 5 youth experience mental health challenges, yet lack of access to support leaves them struggling in silence.



Many mental health conditions first appear in youth and young adults, with 50% of all conditions beginning by age 14. Students of color are disproportionately affected by mental health challenges, yet often lack access to culturally responsive support and resources. According to the CDC, suicide is increasing at a faster rate for Black youths than it is for any other racial or ethnic group (36.6%).

It is well documented that untreated or inadequately treated mental illness can lead to high rates of school dropout, unemployment, substance use, arrest, incarceration and early death. Educators and mental health professionals within schools are on the frontlines, without the critical resources to provide the needed support. 


Join us, as we partner with school districts and schools to address the youth mental health crisis.

Ways Your Support Will Help

Support for Educators and Mental Health Professionals on the Frontlines

School professionals are often the first to recognize signs of distress in students, but limited resources and training can leave them feeling unequipped. Through our trainings and individualized coaching, we empower them to recognize and challenge biases within themselves and in the school environment, and to deliver culturally responsive instruction and mental health services, in order to best support the mental health of the youth under their care.

Communities of Care for Black Male Youth

The number of hate crimes at schools more than doubled from 500 in 2020 to more than 1,300 in 2022, with the largest number of alleged offenses being motivated by anti-Black bias. Black students are 20% more likely than their peers to experience mental health problems, and suicide among Black male youth has risen 60% over the past two decades. Your support will allow us to convene communities of care for Black male youth across NYC, led by experienced CRJE facilitators, to address the negative effects of the discrimination they are facing in schools. Together, they will develop practices of collective care, build positive ethnic-racial identity, and de-stigmatize mental health, all in service of bolstering their well-being.

Youth-Adult Partnerships for Promoting Mental Health in Schools

This program aims to address the youth mental health crisis by working directly with youth and the adults who serve them in schools. In the program, we use the arts as a space for building youth’s power, so they can take action to influence the changes in their schools and communities that they deem most necessary for promoting their mental health. Critically, we utilize a youth-adult partnership model, in which adults are trained to share power with youth and work towards actualizing youth’s vision for a liberated school environment.

Here are some ways you can help:

  • Donate: Your financial support is essential in sustaining our programs and reaching more youth.
  • Spread the word: Share this page with your friends, family, and network.
  • Host a fundraising event: Organize an event in your community to raise awareness and funds.
  • Volunteer your time: Share your expertise and passion by volunteering with CRJE.

Together, we can create inclusive and supportive school environments where students feel safe to express themselves and seek help when needed.

For over 20 years, the Center for Racial Justice in Education (CRJE) has worked to construct a new reality within our country’s public school system; a world where all young people learn and thrive in equitable and affirming educational spaces. CRJE’s partnerships with districts, schools, organizations, and community members result in empowered educators and leaders who are better equipped to shift classroom dynamics, re-write curriculum, and redesign institutional policies and practices in support of all students.