Sharing Experiences that Inspire
Our professionally-trained young adult speakers provide educational programs built around lived experiences. By far our most requested offering, students hear stories of hope and recovery from young adult speakers who successfully and productively cope with their own mental health challenges.
Our speakers – dynamic young adults who have struggled with mental health issues – share their personal stories and recovery.
The issues addressed in these presentations include: mood disorders, suicide ideation, eating disorders, addictive behavior, trauma, self-harm, and bullying.
Every presentation offers an educational component, including:
- the signs and symptoms of mental health conditions
- that mental health issues are common and treatable
- the similarities between physical and mental health
- negative vs. positive coping skills
- how to ask for help yourself or for a friend
These programs are designed to work well in school assemblies and health classes, and can be adapted for other interest groups, e.g. athletic teams, clubs, etc.
One in five teens will experience a mental health issue this year, yet less than 20% will seek treatment. 50% of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14 and 75% by age 24. Stigma coupled with shame is often a significant barrier that discourages individuals from seeking treatment for a situational or chronic mental health issue. A study conducted by The Scattergood Foundation found that after seeing a Changing Minds: Stories Over Stigma program, students are more likely to express willingness to seek help, are less likely to think students with mental illness are dangerous, less likely to be afraid, less likely to think students with mental health issues should be in different classes, less likely to be angry with students with mental illness, and less likely to avoid them socially.
These improvements demonstrate that Minding Your Mind’s Changing Minds: Stories Over Stigma program is effective for improving attitudes about seeking professional help, is an effective stigma-reduction program, and one of the few in the country that has the data to prove it
“I have never seen our students so invested in a speaker as much as they were with Melissa. I also received nothing but positive comments from students, parents, and staff members who were present for talk. In short, she was perfect.”
— Christy Barbone, Psychologist