Shape the Future of Behavioral Health in California


Are you a young person between the ages of 14 and 25 years old? Do you want to make a meaningful impact on the mental health and emotional well-being of children, youth, and families in California?


The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Office of Health Equity (OHE) has partnered with KAI Partners to support the design, implementation, and onboarding for the Youth Co-Lab. This groundbreaking internal advisory group seeks to recruit passionate and diverse youth from across the state. As a Youth Co-Lab member, you will have a unique opportunity to help reimagine mental health services, reduce stigma, and increase support for Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral (MEB) health and substance use disorder.

We are looking to select 12 youth members and two youth leaders to be part of this exciting opportunity. Youth members should be between 14 and 25 years old and able to commit eight hours per month to committee activities. If you are between the ages of 21 and 25, you could be one of our Youth Leaders. Our youth leaders will dedicate 12 hours per month to support Youth Co-Lab activities.

It's time to take action. Speak for your generation, join forces with like-minded youth, and shape the future of behavioral health in California. Apply for membership with the Youth Co-Lab today and be the catalyst for lasting and fundamental change. Together, we will ensure a brighter future for children, youth, and families.

Age 14 to 25 years old.

Live in the state of California.

Have lived experience with mental, emotional, and/or behavioral health
challenges as a consumer, caregiver, or support person.

Be able to obtain a work permit (under 18 years old) or pass a background check (18 or older).

Embody the collective mission and vision of the CDPH-OHE and CYBHI programs.

**For more information, please visit the program site at
Our campaign priority populations:
         - African American and Black
         - Asian and Pacific Islander
         - Native American
         - Latino
         - LGBTQ+
         - Foster care youth
         - Justice impacted youth*
         - Persons with disabilities
         - Those who live in rural area
** Youth over age 18 must pass a background check as a condition of employment


Able to serve a three-year membership term.
Willing to dedicate 8-12 hours of work each month.
Attend regular meetings (virtual with potential for in-person) with CDPH, media vendors, and community-based organizations.
Review and provide insight on media campaign strategy, messaging, and content.
Participate in discussions on topics such as personal identity and mental, emotional, behavioral health in relation to media content.
Interact with assigned mentor for regular support and guidance.


Compensation provided for time and service.

**Compensation Rates: Youth Leader Compensation Rate: $30 per hour,   Youth Member Compensation Rate: $25 per hour

Build community and network with peers.
Gain professional experience for your resume.
Develop and expand professional skills (e.g., leadership, public speaking).
Receive valuable mentorship and guidance from CDPH-OHE staff.
Eligibility for school credit and community service hours.
Get incentives for participation in meetings.
Be a changemaker for children, youth, and their families across California communities.
Impact the narrative on mental, emotional, and behavioral health and substance use disorder.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Welcome to the FAQ section for the Youth Co-Lab! Here, we address common questions that youth have asked us. As the program continues to evolve, please be aware that details in this FAQ section may be subject to updates. We encourage you to revisit this page periodically for the latest information.

Can I join the Youth Co-Lab if I am 25 years old? Yes, 25-year-olds are considered transition aged youth (ages 16 to 25). If you are 25, you are welcome to apply! When you turn 26, you will officially fall into the “adult” category. We will keep you on board for the duration of the membership term as long as you continue to fulfill the duties of your role. The Youth Co-Lab Leadership Team will check-in with you after you turn 26 to assess your participation.
Will I be considered for membership if I am older than 25 years old? Unfortunately, we can't consider applicants if they are 26+ years old. 25 is our cut-off age for membership consideration. This age aligns with the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative’s (CYBHI’s) mission of transforming the behavioral health system for children and youth from birth to age 25.
Where will Youth Co-Lab meetings take place? Most meetings will occur virtually on the Microsoft Teams platform. As we get closer to year 2 of the Youth Co-Lab, we will evaluate the possibility of future in-person meetings and events.
I’m over the age of 18. What if I can’t pass a background check? Passing a background check is a requirement for employment. Unfortunately, we can’t hire young adults who are unable to pass a background check. We must abide by California Child Labor Laws when employing minors (ages 14 to 17) and young adults.
I was notified that I am on the waitlist for the Youth Co-Lab. When will I be considered for membership of the Youth Co-Lab? The waitlist consists of 5 slots which will be reviewed by the Youth Co-Lab Leadership Team on a quarterly basis based on current membership.
For any inquiries, please contact us by clicking on the Email Us link below:
Youth Application for Membership [Ages 14 - 17]
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Parent(s)/Guardian(s) Signature(s):

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Young Adult Application for Membership [Ages 18 - 25]
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Parent(s)/Guardian(s) Signature(s):

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