LEWISTON — In partnership with Healthy Androscoggin, Lewiston Youth Advisory Council (LYAC) members are sharing their voices and some favorite views to advocate for mental health awareness, a topic they feel strongly about, especially amidst  the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project, called “The View and Voice of LYAC … A Light in the Dark,” will open Monday, Jan. 11.

The approach they are using is Photovoice, a participatory action research methodology created by Caroline Wang and Mary Ann Burris in the early 1990s where “people can identify, represent, and enhance their community through a specific photographic technique.”

LYAC Chair Hope Rubito said, “As a council of teens, we saw and felt firsthand how much of a struggle mental health has been amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. With this in mind, we decided to partner with Healthy Androscoggin to showcase a variety of unique photos dedicated to those who may be struggling themselves, and we wanted them to realize that they are not alone.”

LYAC member Keira Potvin added, “It was important for LYAC to partner up with Healthy Androscoggin in this Photovoice project. Many of us have become aware that members of our community have been struggling with mental health. This project is a good way to show that everyone has their tough days, even when it seems as if they don’t.”

Photos and narratives will “launch” virtually Jan. 11 on various social media platforms, and different aspects of the project will be posted daily for two weeks. Nearer to Sunday, Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, LYAC hopes to have its photos and narratives printed and on display in the community. Corrie Brown, LMSW, PS-C – a Healthy Androscoggin Substance Misuse and Tobacco Prevention manager who has been working with LYAC on the project – will seek venues for an exhibit presence.

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