NAMI’s ‘Ending the Silence’ educates youth on mental health

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According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in six kids between the ages of 6 to 17 experience a mental health disorder each year in the U.S.

That’s why NAMI created Ending the Silence, a free, evidence-based, 50-minute, in-person presentation designed to teach middle and high school students about mental health issues. It is a targeted program that is going to reach middle school and high school students.

This is an opportunity to bring mental health services into the schools, which is where this age group already spends the majority of their time. It’s also an opportunity for teachers to learn about warning signs of mental health and mental illness and to learn about things that are not your typical teenage or youth behavior.

Letitia Labrecque, Executive Director for NAMI Arizona, and Corinn Cook, Ending the Silence Presenter, joined “Arizona Horizon” to give an overview of NAMI and its Ending the Silence program.

Labrecque said most schools are very thankful for the information given to them and are viewing it as an additional tool.

“It’s certainly not going to conquer all of our mental health problems. I wish that it would,” Labrecque said. “But it really does bring them an extra set of resources that they can rely on, and then they can refer out if it needs to be more in-depth counseling.”

There is an old myth that speaking about difficult topics such as depression, anxiety and suicide creates the issue, but this isn’t true and is only creating a further barrier, Labrecque said. Once able to hurdle it, schools are showing to be very open to the concept.

Cook explained it is a one-day, eight-hour training. While they want to conduct most of the work in person, there is also a hybrid option available.

To learn more about the program, visit the Ending the Silence website.

Letitia Labrecque, Executive Director for NAMI Arizona
Corinn Cook, Ending the Silence Presenter

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