Hearts United, City of Charleston set for Youth Mental Health Forum

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Hearts United, Inc. and the City of Charleston are partnering to host a Youth Mental Health Forum on Saturday to talk about the effects of COVID-19 and schooling.

Jahari Barron, Founder of Hearts United and sixth-grader at Horace Mann Middle School told 580-WCHS that he and some students he knows are suffering from negative emotions such as sadness, depression, anxiety, and worry because of the isolation that the pandemic has created.

“Being online can be lonely. I don’t get to see or talk to my classmates,” Barron said.

Barron founded Hearts United after the passing of his father who suffered from a heart condition. The group began by focusing on heart diseases. He and his mother, LaKeisha Barron-Brown, decided to expand and realized that if other areas of your life are not treated, it can play a role on the condition of a heart.

Barron-Brown said the pandemic has greatly affected her son in school and other parents dealing with children being impacted. She said she hopes this sheds light on services needed for mental health

“We want to make sure everyone understands that this is a community issue, even outside of Charleston. We want people to know that we understand the challenges that all have faced with this,” Barron-Brown said.

The forum will take place Saturday, February 20 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. via Zoom and is open to the public. The meeting can be accessed at https://us02web.zoom.us/J/89020576257 with meeting ID: 890 2057 6257.

Experts that will take questions during the forum include Barron, Lisa Tate-Keyser, licensed psychologist at Damous Psychological Services, and Michelle Tate, a counselor at South Charleston Middle School.

Anyone interested in submitting questions early can do so by emailing [email protected]

“Well I just want to hope that everyone can talk to each other and talk about what has happened to everyone during this and how we can move forward and help,” Barron said.