Bringing anxiety and depression out of the darkness is a team effort. We work with healthcare professionals, educators, mental health advocates, community organizations, elected officials and individuals to advocate for comprehensive educational programs and equal access to much-needed care for these illnesses. Recently, New York and Virginia became the first states to enact laws requiring mental health education in schools.
“New York’s law updates the curriculum in elementary, middle and high schools to include material on mental health. Virginia’s law mandates that mental health education be incorporated into physical education and health curricula for ninth- and 10th-graders.” (Source: https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/02/health/mental-health-schools-bn/index.html)
If you feel it is important that your state enact a law requiring the incorporation of mental health education in the school curriculum, contact your representatives:
One of the most important goals of Michael’s Giving H.A.N.D. is to eliminate the stigma surrounding anxiety and depression. We aspire to foster compassionate communication, increase medical access, and create universal awareness for anxiety disorders and depression. No one should ever suffer in silence or feel ashamed. Anxiety and depression are disorders; they are not choices.
Educate yourself and others about anxiety disorders and depression in adolescents. Identify the symptoms, know that it is treatable, and dispute the myths that contribute to the stigma. Anxiety and depression are not weaknesses; they’re illnesses. They don’t discriminate. Through education, we can chip away at the stigma associated with mental health conditions. Through education, we can help those in need, which in turn may just save a life! Learn more.
One of the most difficult steps for those who struggle with anxiety and depression is opening up about their condition and seeking help for it. If you break a leg, you seek help from a doctor. If you need to improve your grades, you seek help from your teacher. If you need to improve your performance on the field, you seek help from your coach. If you need help with anxiety and depression, there is no shame in seeking help for your mental health. Talk about it. Ask for help.
Until we erase the stigma associated with mental illnesses, teens will continue to suffer in silence for fear of being “shamed” or labeled “weak” or being told to “Get over it. It’s nothing.” If you had cancer, no one would say, “Get over it.” Anxiety and depression are illnesses. There is no room for Stigma. Compassion and understanding must prevail. Together, we can Erase the Stigma associated with teen anxiety and depression. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!