Promoting Mental Health Awareness in School — Hope

There is Hope After Diagnosis

We all know middle school and high school is a time of dramatic change, growth and developmental milestones. This period of change and growth impacts the mental health of young people. In fact, one half of all cases of lifetime mental illness begin by the age of 14. However young people who are diagnosed need to know that with proper care and treatment mental illness are treatable.

Group of little studentsSchools are an ideal place to help young people know that they are supported whether or not they are struggling with mental illness. Promoting programs like Michelle Obama’s Change Direction initiative, national programs like NAMI’s Ending the Silence, educational based initiatives like NAMI Queens/Nassau’s Breaking the Silence and Let’s Talk Mental Illness TM, or  local initiatives like First Lady Chirlane McCray of New York City Mental Health Texting Pilot Program,will reinforce for students that mental health is something to speak about and not to be hidden.

Mental health is now coming front and center. Schools can be places where kids can know its OK to talk about what they are going through, seek help if they need it and receive encouragement when they experience mental illness. Through consistently and openly sharing these mental health messages, schools can begin to create a culture of open expression.

From: Three Powerful Messages for Promoting Mental Health Awareness in Every School, NAMIBlog, April 10, 2015, by Hakeen Rahim. Hakeem Rahim, EdM, M.A. graduated from Harvard University and from Teacher’s College, Columbia University, start a consulting firm, and become NAMI Queens/Nassau’s Let’s Talk Mental Illness™ (LTMI) presenter, despite his struggles with bipolar disorder. Hakeem has also testified in front of Congress and featured in USA Today. Find out more about him at

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