We at SOVA are mental-health and communications professionals, and we use those skills to design blogs that give you—our readers—information about mental illness in manageable portions that you can grasp. For example, here are just a few facts about the reality of living with mental illness as an American teen:
- one in five teens lives with a mental health condition
- more than half of those are not getting the help they need
- stigma remains a huge barrier to teens who are seeking that help
- teens who don’t seek help say they are afraid of peers perceiving them negatively
Statistics and facts like these can help put mental health issues in perspective. But the parts of our blogs to which many readers relate most closely are people’s stories.
Our hope is that SOVA will make it easier and less scary for you to share your experiences with others, and that together we can form a network of peers who can provide support for each other as you negotiate your mental health challenges.
One example of an organization that’s putting stories out there is “Say It Out Loud.” They have produced a video with support from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Ok2talk.org, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It shares the stories of several young adults talking about what it’s like to live with mental illness, and how they think of it not as a condition that defines them, but an experience that makes them stronger.
“Say It Out Loud” also includes a toolkit for adults who are interested in fostering conversations about mental health among teens. It includes:
- a discussion guide about how to hold a successful group conversation
- a narrative presentation for group facilitators to learn more about mental health experiences among youth
- fact sheets and information about how to connect with NAMI on the community level
How did this video’s frankly told stories make you feel? In what ways did they make you want to change your life and/or your attitudes toward your experiences? How did they remind you of something you or someone else went through? Share in the comments!