Let’s Talk: World Mental Health Day

Image result for images for world mental health day 2018

I feel a bit rusty as I write this. I’ve been away from blogging, writing, and the regular routine for three weeks. Just a few days ago, my family and I returned home from our grand European adventure (it was incredible, more on that later).

Yesterday, while jet-lagged and bleary-eyed, I scrolled through my Instagram feed and saw a post from Miriam at Out an’ About. She mentioned World Mental Health Day.

Wait, what’s the date? Of course, tomorrow is October 10! How could I forget?

Miriam is in Australia and I’m in the western U.S., so my afternoon is her next day. I’m messed up with days, nights, and dates, from traveling. So thank you, Miriam, for the reminder!

I couldn’t let this day slip by without saying something about it. AND… this year’s theme focuses on young people and mental health.

I’m passionate about spreading mental health awareness, and in particular, to our youth. As a speaker for NAMI’s in-school program, “Ending the Silence,” I visit high schools and talk to students about mental health issues and what to do if they notice the symptoms in themselves or a friend.

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Half of all mental health conditions start by age 14, but most cases are undetected and untreated (from the World Health Organization).

I can definitely relate to that fact.

I was about 10 when my panic attacks began. I didn’t have any idea what was wrong with me and never wanted to tell anyone. I didn’t want my friends or family to think I was weird, so I dealt with it as best I could, on my own. I kept my scary and strange symptoms a secret for 20 years before I got help.

I don’t want this to happen to other kids. That’s one reason I love presenting “Ending the Silence” to teens. Awareness and education are crucial.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds. Adolescents need to know that it’s okay not to be okay. There is help available and there is hope.

This quote from NAMI is a great reminder to parents:

“Odds are, your children won’t go to a counselor when they feel something isn’t quite right. They’ll come to you. So please, stay open and believe them. Believing may save their lives.”

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While the stigma surrounding mental illness is beginning to lessen, it remains strong.

This morning I read an essay co-written by Lady Gaga and the Director-General at the World Health Organization. Here’s what they said about the reality of stigma:

“Yet despite the universality of the issue, we struggle to talk about it openly or to offer adequate care or resources. Within families and communities, we often remain silenced by a shame that tells us that those with mental illness are somehow less worthy or at fault for their own suffering.”

I’m grateful that there is a World Mental Health Day, recognized each year on October 10. Mental illness is a global issue. It does not discriminate. It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you live, what nationality you are, if you’re rich or poor… we all can be affected by mental illness.

World Mental Health Day encourages people to speak out about mental health and mental illness. But the conversation can’t stop after today.

End the silence. End stigma. Let’s talk about it.


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First image courtesy of here

Second image courtesy of here

Third image courtesy of here

Fourth image courtesy of here

21 thoughts on “Let’s Talk: World Mental Health Day

  1. I would say so glad you are back but I have been absent also on the blogging thing! But I AM glad you are back.
    I love that quote from NAMI about our children coming to us. I also always told my boys that if they had things they did not feel they could talk to me about they could go to their grandma. I told them not much would surprise her so tell her anything…..and I know for fact they did. I am so grateful for her and her guidance with our boys.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Aw thank you!! I’m so glad you’re back too! How wonderful that your boys could go to their grandma for anything. And also how great that you felt like you could tell them that. What a great sense of support, for both you and your boys. An extended support system. I think sometimes kids do feel more comfortable talking to someone else, another trusted adult, to get his/her viewpoint. I just love that. Thanks for your nice comment. Look forward to catching up on your blog 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I also wrote in my last blog about world mental health day. It’s so important to raise awareness ❤️ Beautiful written post. I agree that the earlier we talk about it the better support and help. It will cause less problems. Prevention before things get worse is so important.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post Jenny. Ten is such a young age to suffer from panic attacks. You should be so proud of how far you’ve come and the work that you’re now doing in this area. Thanks for the mention too! Hugs from afar xx

    Liked by 2 people

  4. We need more people like you going to schools and sharing these important messages to young people. Unfortunately, we don’t realize the positive impact that it has their lives in the years that follow – otherwise so many more would be doing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, I appreciate your kind words! I agree with you… when I’m speaking to the kids I have no idea who I’m reaching. Even though they may not need it now, they may years later. But it has to start somewhere, and I think it’s important for adolescents to hear the terms and learn about mental health early. Thanks for visiting here and reading! Take care, Jenny


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