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Mental health awareness: #CureStigma

Photo+from+the+National+Alliance+on+Mental+Illness+www.nami.org
Photo from the National Alliance on Mental Illness www.nami.org

Photo from the National Alliance on Mental Illness www.nami.org

Photo from the National Alliance on Mental Illness www.nami.org

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October 7, 2018, began Mental Health Awareness Week, which stresses the need to educate and raise awareness of mental illness, a traditionally “taboo” subject. It’s extremely important to talk and be open about, especially when dealing with teenagers. About 43.8 million people in the United States have a mental illness, and yet it still carries a stigma and is completely misunderstood.  

One in five teenagers struggle with mental health—if it’s not you, look around! Check on your friends! Support and knowing that someone cares is so important, because so many people feel all alone. While some may view it difficult to decipher “teenage problems” versus mental issues, there are lots of signs to be on the lookout for. If your friend seems isolated, not really talking to anyone (if it’s out of the ordinary), is avoiding plans, or losing weight drastically–even if that person just seems more irritable or like they have no energy–could be tell-tale signs something deeper is going on. Mental illness comes in all shapes, sizes, and forms. It’s not a stereotype that you can just pinpoint on someone. It could be that the one person you think has everything could feel like they’re nothing. “Be kind to everyone because you may not know what they are currently dealing with in their lives,” say Ms. Deborah Hepworth and Ms. Amy McLendon, GBMS guidance counselors.  

If you are that one in five, know that there are so many resources! Find a friend you can really trust and let that person be your outlet. If you can’t seem to find someone, or just can’t open up, get a journal and use it. Don’t bottle up your emotions, because eventually that bottle is going to fill up, overflow, and make a mess. Write down everything you feel daily, everything significant or insignificant that happened, anything that’s bothering you—write it down, release those emotions, and let them go. A common exercise licensed therapists and psychologists use is the “bubble method.” Picture in your head your worry or fear in a bubble, and then picture it floating away. You can find a teacher you trust or one of our school counselors, Ms. McLendon or Ms. Hepworth, who can also refer you to additional help. The most important thing for you to know is that you are not alone, you got this!

SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE: 1-800-273-8255 

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Mental health awareness: #CureStigma