Youth Mental Health Leadership Council


The Youth Mental Health Leadership Council is a youth leadership group focused on breaking the stigmas that surround mental health issues, increasing access to mental health resources for youth across the county, and promoting holistic wellness practices for all. We believe that by empowering youth and their families with the tools they need to create healthy homes and lead happy lives together, we are also contributing to a more equitable, cooperative and thriving community.

Our students are committed to serving as leaders for social change through advocacy, civic engagement and collaboration for the benefit of all members of our society. 


Want to join the Youth Mental Health Leadership Council? Fill out the short application form down below! We'd love to have your part of our Mental Health team!

Student applications are open for the 2023-2024 school year. 

For more information, please feel free to reach out to Connie Carillo at, Marisol Lopez at, or Andres Ortiz at



* Our orientation and first meeting of the 2023-24 school year will be on Saturday, September 23, 2023 from 11am-2pm at the Santa Cruz County Office of Education building (400 Encinal St. Santa Cruz, CA 95060). At this meeting we will confirm our weekly meeting times and location. 

Weekly Meetings - TBD for 2023-24 School year

YLLA Monthly Meetings - Generally first Saturday of the month 10am-2pm with the other YLLA groups (In person only):

What We've Been Up To

This past year the Youth Mental Health Leadership Council has been working on promoting our instagram @ymhlc with information, self-care ideas, statistics, resources, challenges all around mental health. We just wrapped up our summer leadership camp that took place at our Watsonville location from June 26-29. During the camp we brought outside resources in such as Cabrillo College to talk about the various programs and opportunities there are for students, Cradle 2 Carreer focused on sharing mental health information as well as working on strategies during difficult situations. We got to learn from Salud para la Gente all about their resources and were able to ask questions about reproductive health and mental health. We wrapped up the week by focusing on building tools in order to practice positive self-care as well as coping skills and triggers, we created "Zenes" that had many different ideas around how to feel safe and well, we also worked on creating "hug jugs" that were jars full of affirmations and positivity that you can use when you are not feeling 100%. 

Currently, we are working with the Digital Nest on creating a landing tree where we will have resources and videos that will create awareness and help build relationships amongst our community and community partners in order to receive proper mental health care services. Our hopes are to interview people in the community and ask what they know about MH, what is missing, what resources are working, how to support youth who are struggling, what youth are looking for in trusted adults as well as providing more information and breaking the stigma around mental health. 


Connie Carillo

Marisol Lopez

Marisol has been working with our agency since 2016 and is a Watsonville native. She earned her BA in Sociology and Chicano studies from the University of California Davis and has been working with the youth in and out of our community for the past ten years. Marisol has moved into the Program Manager role in Children and Youth as well as overseeing our Community Outreach and Education program. Previously Marisol was our Senior Case Manager in the Children and Youth program where she was providing support to youth in a 1:1 capacity in the Watsonville office and in Pajaro Valley schools. Working in the children and youth program has been a blessing for Marisol, as she has worked with and watched so many of our youth grow and empower themselves and one another. Marisol sees herself continuing in this field and growing as a leader in our community through working directly with survivors on creating awareness around youth mental health needs, breaking cycles of violence, and establishing boundaries.