Learn More About Mental Health Awareness in Teens with NAMI Sarasota | Suncoast View

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SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - Mental Illness affects far more people than many people realize.

One in five adults experiences mental illness in any given year, and 17% of high school students report seriously considering suicide.

This week has been set aside as National Mental Illness Awareness Week. The purpose of the week is to replace the stigma of mental illness with hope and support, and to advocate for care for those who need it.

Heather Dunn is the Coordinator of "Ending the Silence," a program sponsored by NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) . She says, "We are working to replace the stigma of mental illness with hope and support and to advocate for care for those who need it."

The "Ending the Silence" Campaign focuses on teens.

Heather says, "Approximately one-half of chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14. "Ending the Silence" helps middle and high school students understand mental illness and mental health issues, teaches common warning signs and when and where young people can get help for themselves and for their friends."

She continues, "We teach teens how to recognize signs and symptoms of mental illness and how get help. and how we need to reduce stigma of mental illness. We hand out green wrist bands as a reminder. We make it clear to teens that mental illness is common and chronic, like any other chronic illness"

She says, although today most people understand that mental illness is a medical condition, still the stigma stops people from seeking medical help. And individuals and families affected by mental illness are still often subjected to stigma and discrimination, so they don't seek treatment." NAMI hopes the "Ending the Silence" campaign starts a conversation and breaks down stigma.

NAMI presents it's biggest fund raiser of the year, called "Out of the Blue" October 25th at Sarasota Architectural Salvage.

For more information about services for mental illness and the fundraiser got to namisarasotacounty.org

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