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MIYFS and MIHS SAFE Club Launch “Island Space” Campaign at MIHS Today

MIYFS and MIHS SAFE Club Launch “Island Space” Campaign at MIHS Today
MISD Communications & MIYFS

Mercer Island, WA, April 19, 2023 – This afternoon at Mercer Island High School (MIHS) a new campaign called "Island Space" was launched by Mercer Island Youth and Family Services (MIYFS) and SAFE (Super Awesome Fun Events) Club students.

The Island Space campaign is focused on 1) improving student mental health, 2) decreasing substance use as a coping mechanism and 3) providing teens information about healthy ways to deal with stress and the pressure to succeed.

Pins and wrist bands give away at MIHS Launch of Island Space

The MI Healthy Youth Initiative (HYI), a program of MIYFS, used a variety of data sources, interviews, focus groups and survey results to better understand the experiences of Mercer Island Youth and to determine the root causes of youth alcohol and drug behaviors. Looking at the data, it is clear that high expectations and pressure to achieve are connected with mental health challenges, as well as substance use among MIHS students.

The good news is that most Mercer Island youth do not use alcohol or other substances; however, the MIHS 2022 Healthy Youth Survey results indicate that Mercer Island students who do choose to use alcohol, are more likely than most Washington youth to binge drink (defined as consuming five or more alcoholic drinks in one setting).

Based on these findings, HYI is focusing the Island Space campaign on improving student mental health and decreasing substance use. The campaign messages will include four specific elements:

• Understanding the impacts of alcohol and other drugs on teens;
• Increasing healthy skills to address the pressure around perfection and performance;
• Encouraging peer-to-peer conversations and interventions around alcohol and other drug use; and
• Evolving the definition of success

Today’s MIHS lunch event included music, give-aways and information about the Island Space campaign. Students can learn more about Island Space via a poster series displayed in the MIHS halls and by visiting the Island Space website

A primary goal of this campaign is to encourage students to talk with their peers and trusted adults about how they cope with the pressure and expectations in our community and to ultimately learn how to make healthy choices when coping with stress. Students, families, staff, and community members are encouraged to engage in dialogue on the topics presented in the Island Space campaign.  

Our incredible MIHS counseling team and Mercer Island Youth and Family Services counselors are always available to support students around these topics. We have also compiled a list of resources below that can be helpful in supporting students.

Youth Mental Health Support & Substance Abuse Prevention Resources

• Chris Harnish, MIYFS School-Based Counselor, (206) 236-3363,

• Caleb Visser, MIYFS School-Based Counselor, (206) 236-3290,

• Michelle Ritter, MI Healthy Youth Initiative Coordinator,

• Mercer Island Youth and Family Services, Confidential Intake Line (206) 275-7657

• Take Five Tool -

• UW Forefront Suicide Prevention “LEARN” Skills –

• MI Healthy Youth Initiative “Prevention Basics” Resource -

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