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NAMI Arizona begins Ending the Silence mental health campaign

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Ending the Silence seeks end to stigma, help kids cope mental health challenges
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in six children between the ages of 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year in the United States.

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), behavior problems, anxiety and depression are the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders in children, yet only half of all youth with mental health conditions received treatment of any kind, according to a press release.

That’s why NAMI created Ending the Silence.

Ending the Silence is a free, evidence-based, 50-minute in person presentation designed to teach middle and high school students about mental health issues.

“One of the things that is especially exciting and inspiring about the Ending the Silence program, is that it includes presentations from young adults actually living with a mental illness who share their journey with recovery,” said Kristina Sabetta, executive director of NAMI Valley of the Sun. “The program provides hope and empowers teens to reach out and get the help they need. It also allows participants to ask questions and gain a deeper understanding of an often misunderstood topic like mental health illness.”

Through Ending the Silence, 7th-12th graders learn about the warning signs of mental illness, what steps to take if a friend or loved one begins showing symptoms of a mental health condition and ways to end the stigma associated with mental health issues. Participants learn about mental health conditions through a targeted presentation, short videos and personal testimonies from a young adult who shares their lived experience.

Suicide is the second most common cause of death for teens. According to the Center for Disease Control, one young person dies by suicide every 11 minutes and 17% of all high school students seriously consider suicide.

“The impression Ending the Silence has on participating students is noticeable, but it also has a lasting impact on adults too,” Ms. Sabetta said.

“Parents often say, ‘I wish there had been something like this back when I was in high school. It would have helped me understand what was going on with myself or a friend. Getting the program into our schools, in front of parents and teachers, also helps these trusted adults identify warning signs of an emerging mental health condition and the importance of early intervention to help teens avoid suicide.”

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