What is Stand Together?

Stand Together staff educate and train middle and high school students to support peers with mental or substance use disorders. We use a peer-to-peer, service-learning model which means a small group of students learns about stigma and behavioral health challenges and then shares their knowledge in a creative way. See some of the students’ projects.

Here's how we do it.

We train a small group of students at a school

They develop projects to help educate their peers about mental health issues and/or substance use issues

We destigmatize youth seeking help for themselves or others

Why is Stand Together Important?

Annually, one of every four youth in the U.S. has a diagnosable mental or substance use disorder

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in the 12-18 year-old age group

Two-thirds of youth with disorders do not get treatment

90% of the youth who complete suicide have a mental or substance use disorder

From 2007-2017, the suicide rate in this age group increased 85%

About Stand Together

Stand Together was created by the Allegheny County Department of Human Services in 2013 in response to anti-stigma research on mental health and substance use disorders. Short-term interventions are not effective in changing stigmatizing attitudes and behaviors. We also know that meeting someone in recovery or treatment is incredibly effective in getting young people to talk about these issues. Stand Together trainers have experienced mental health or substance use disorders themselves, and they work with students and advisors for an entire school year to support their efforts.

Awards and Recognition

National Association of Counties 2017 Achievement Award – Best in Human Services Category

National Association of Counties 2017 Brilliant Ideas at Work – 100 Best Innovations in County Government

2014 Mental Health America Allegheny County Esprit Award - Children’s Service Award