Jackie Ricciardi, Carl Antisell and Trish Larsen are now participating members of the PA Systems of Care Youth Coalition Board. Minding Your Mind has been identified by the Learning Institute Planning Committee due to our inspiring and effective messaging.
One in five. One in five teenagers will suffer anxiety, depression, self-harm, substance abuse or suicidal ideation.
One. It only takes one person to make a difference. You can “be the one” to make a difference by supporting Minding Your Mind in this year’s 2015 TCS New York City Marathon.
We are excited to announce that Minding Your Mind will be participating as an Official Charity Partner for the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon! As a charity partner we are going to be able to host 3 runners in this year’s marathon. Details on how to become a Minding Your Mind runner will be posted shortly. Anyone interested in becoming a runner or supporting a runner should contact email@example.com.
About Minding Your Mind
Minding Your Mind is a non-profit dedicated to reducing the stigma around mental health disorders in young people. We do this through presentations in middle schools and high schools that are led by our dynamic young speakers, who all are personally in recovery from a mental health condition themselves. They use personal experience to reinforce educational objectives and connect with students in an unprecedented way.
The presentations, which are free of charge to the school, occur during school assemblies, health classes and workshops. Issues that are addressed in these presentations range from mood disorders, suicide ideation and eating disorders, to addictive behavior and bullying.
Through our Speaker Program, Minding Your Mind has reached over 100,000 college, high school and middle school students throughout the Delaware Valley. Our speakers have all received training to ensure that their presentations are delivered in a professional and knowledgeable fashion. Inspiring presentations by our speakers provide students with a better understanding of the signs and symptoms of mental disorders, emphasizing that they are treatable and that help is available.
Ardmore, PA (March 6, 2015)— Minding Your Mind has been granted two charity entries for the 2015 Blue Cross Broad Street Run, it was announced today by Trish Larsen, executive director for Minding Your Mind. The race will take place on Sunday, May 3, 2015.
“Minding Your Mind is grateful to the Blue Cross Broad Street Run for this generous opportunity,” said Larsen. “The Blue Cross Broad Street Run is the largest ten-mile race in the United States, and an event revered in the Philadelphia region. Runners who’ve dreamed of an opportunity to participate in this iconic race can partner with Minding Your Mind to achieve their personal goals, and help Minding Your Mind achieve ours.”
Minding Your Mind’s primary objective is to provide mental health education to adolescents, teens and young adults, their parents, teachers, and school administrators. The goal is to reduce the stigma and destructive behaviors often associated with mental health issues and illnesses. Educational programs provide information regarding signs and symptoms of these disorders, in addition to stressing that they are treatable and treatment is available.
The Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation’s Blue Cross Broad Street Run began in 1980 with 1,500 runners and grew over the years to 2014’s total of 32,000 finishers. Racers who qualify for the two charity entries belonging to Minding Your Mind will be assigned a bib number in exchange for raising a minimum of $1,000 in support of Minding Your Mind. Interested runners must contact firstname.lastname@example.org by March 15, 2015.
MAY 28, 2015 BY THE TRIANGLE NEWS DESK
May is both National LGBTQ Awareness Month at Drexel University and National Mental Health Awareness Month. With that in mind, The Triangle interviewed 21-year-old volunteer speaker for the organization Minding Your Mind and Drexel University business marketing major Andrew Bergman to learn more about what is best for an individual’s mental health.
The Triangle: Can you give a description of what Minding Your Mind does and what you do as a part of the organization?
Andrew Bergman: Minding Your Mind was founded in 2006 outside of Philadelphia, and the mission statement of the organization is to reduce this stigma surrounding mental health. We do that by sending young adult speakers to middle school, high school and university community groups around the country to talk about their journeys with their mental health.
We’re all professionally trained public speakers; we have a staff and a total of nine speakers. We all cover a different variety of topics. This year we’ve given 790 presentations, so I speak about two to four days a week. And sometimes [the schools we visit are] on the East Coast, sometimes we have to travel, so we go to whatever school requests to have us.
AB: I was actually very fortunate in that they found me — it really was crazy how it happened. Simply put, they chased me down the hallway and handed me a business card and said, “Have you ever considered getting into public advocacy before?” At that time I was a senior at high school, I went to St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia, and I had gone through some mental health struggles throughout high school, where for about six years I self-harmed, and I had two suicide attempts.
TT: What makes Minding Your Mind so important to you?
AB: These suicide attempts were things that I didn’t think that I would survive, and when I did I felt this immense amount of guilt and shame because of the stigma surrounding mental health and because of that I kept it inside: I didn’t want to tell anyone, I wanted to keep it this secret. But then I realized that I was never going to get better unless people started to know the truth. And so, my junior year of high school, it was just one year and one month after my second attempt, I stood up in front of my high school, 1,200 boys in suit coats and ties, and from the outside they looked like they had the perfect life, and I just kind of told them what I had gone through. And that’s when I really felt like recovery was beginning because I felt like I could be honest about who I was, and I could not only talk about my story, but I could use my story as a way to help others.
That’s when I really decided that I wanted to get into this advocacy. I started training with them in high school, I gave my first presentation ever when I was still in high school and then I went out to California for college. After a year I decided to transfer back [to Philadelphia] and they said you know, if you ever want to get back involved, please let us know. So I got back in touch with them, and I started speaking for them a lot beginning fall of last year.
It’s really just such an important thing for me because I suffered in silence. My second attempt was on New Year’s Eve, and it was very symbolic that I didn’t want to live to see another year. Because of that, because I understand how that feels, I don’t want any kid to feel that way, to feel the way that I have felt. I have found that talking about it is the best way of doing so. On average, I’ll have between 20-50 kids wait behind to speak with me individually. We have a text-in question thing where they can text in to an app, and we get anywhere from 150-500 questions on there. It really shows that these kids want to talk about it. This area has been struck with many suicides in the past couple of months, and it’s important that we start to bring this conversation alive.
TT: So why is mental health awareness a big deal for college students? Do you as a speaker focus on college students, or all students in general?
AB: We focus on students in general, but because I am a college student, I really find it important to talk about [it] on campus.
Statistically, 25 percent of the world’s population will suffer from a mental health condition, and 20 percent of youth 13-18 suffer, which is one in five kids. Among college kids, suicide is the second leading cause of death. That’s a staggering number. But for some reason, even though it’s so prevalent, people don’t want to talk about it. You go to orientation, and the first week they talk about if your friend gets too drunk you send them here, if your friend does this, if they need whatever kind of testing, this is where you go. But nobody ever says you’re away from home, you may be a little stressed out, here’s a place where you can go, and there are people here that are willing to help you and you’re not alone in this. And I know that, based on a lot of people I’ve spoken to, people do feel like they don’t really have an outlet on a college campus, so for me, being at Drexel, I want to make sure that this problem is addressed.
TT: Can you speak a little bit about May being Mental Health Awareness Month and how Drexel is addressing that?
AB: So, May is known for both Mental Health Awareness Month as well as LGBTQ Awareness Month at Drexel. On the first day of May, there was a newsletter, I mean everyone got it, from the dean of students that said, we’re coming together to celebrate LGBTQ Awareness Month, and here are all of the events that are going to be taking place on campus throughout the month of May to support the LGBTQ community.
I was very impressed that they did that, that they’re really promoting this. And I was expecting them to somewhere along the month also send out another newsletter saying it’s Mental Health Awareness Month, and that never happened. So I waited about two weeks, and I sent out an email to some of the people at Drexel, including the dean of students, speaking about the fact that I was incredibly disappointed in them. Being a mental health advocate, traveling around the country, speaking about mental health education, I’m good public relations for the University. I mention in every one of my talks that I’m a Drexel student. So for Drexel to not even acknowledge that it is Mental Health Awareness Month is incredibly disappointing. I’ve always said, I’m not willing to stand idly by while this university just stays quiet. There was an alleged suicide on campus three months ago, a freshman, and it hasn’t been talked about. It was sent out to all of the students that it was no foul play, or an accidental death. That doesn’t help this issue. That just keeps it tucked away in that closet. By the University not even acknowledging Mental Health Awareness Month, they’re doing the same exact thing.
TT: What do you as a mental health advocate hope to see Drexel do about awareness in the future?
AB: As an advocate, I hope that Drexel just acknowledges that it exists. When I was emailing them that was all I wanted them to do. I didn’t need them to bring me on to campus to speak because honestly I don’t want that; this is my university, this is where I go, I don’t want to be a speaker here. I just want them to have the same regard for LGBTQ Awareness Month, and Black History Month, and every other month of the year, the same as they do with Mental Health Awareness Month.
I have spoken at universities where they have been so proactive, where they’ve held so many events on campus. For example Towson University, I had a meeting with them the other week. I was so impressed by what they were doing. They built a new counseling center that is light and airy. It’s beautiful; it’s not tucked away in the corner of campus, which is typically where counseling centers are because they’re like the forbidden area. So, to see a university that is promoting it and really encouraging their students to seek help is what I want from my university, and right now I can’t say that I’ve seen any actions. I know that they’re getting the screenings, doing all those things but as a whole, the University isn’t acknowledging it, and that’s what I want.
Minding Your Mind has made the Pledge to Change Direction! You can too at http://www.changedirection.org/ Use #ChangeMentalHealth when sharing on social media!
America is at a crossroads when it comes to how our society addresses mental health. We know that one in five of our citizens has a diagnosable mental health condition, and that more Americans are expected to die this year by suicide than in car accidents. While many of us are comfortable acknowledging publicly our physical suffering, for which we almost always seek help, many more of us privately experience mental suffering, for which we almost never reach out.
The Change Direction initiative is a collection of concerned citizens, nonprofit leaders, and leaders from the private sector who have come together to create a new story in America about mental health, mental illness, and wellness. This initiative was inspired by the discussion at the White House National Conference on Mental Health in 2013, which came on the heels of the Newtown, Conn. tragedy.
By bringing together this unprecedented and diverse group of leaders we plan to spark a movement that:
- frees us to see our mental health as having equal value to our physical health
- creates a common language that allows us to recognize the signs of emotional suffering in ourselves and others
- encourages us to care for our mental well-being and the mental well-being of others
The simplest pledge is one that anyone can do. Learn the Five Signs of emotional suffering so you can recognize them in yourself or help a loved one who may be in emotional pain. In short, theFive Signs are personality change, agitation, withdrawal, decline in personal care, and hopelessness. Someone may exhibit one or more signs.
Moreover, a long and growing list of nonprofit organizations and private sector companies are making additional pledges to deliver educational tools and programs that will help change the national conversation about mental health. This collective impact effort will reach over 30 million Americans over the next five years with specific efforts focused to educate:
- military personnel, veterans, and family members
- corporate employees
- federal, state, and local government employees
- first responders
- students, teachers, school officials, and coaches
- members of the faith-based community
- health care professionals
- In 2013, Give an Hour President, Barbara Van Dahlen, Ph.D., put together a team after a conversation with staff from the Vice President’s office about the state of mental health in America following the tragic shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
- A number of individuals have served on the initial team formed in the spring of 2013. Current members of what is now referred to as the “steering committee” are:
- Barbara Van Dahlen, Ph., Founder and President, Give an Hour
- Paul Burke, Executive Director, American Psychiatric Foundation
- Andrea Inserra, Senior Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton
- David Park, Senior Strategist, Collaborative for Student Success
- Randy Phelps, Ph.D., Senior Advisor, American Psychological Association
- Jon Sherin, M.D., Ph.D., Executive Vice President for Military Communities and Chief Medical Officer, Volunteers of America, Incorporated
- After studying the situation and meeting for several months, the steering committee recognized that significant knowledge and numerous resources exist to address the mental health issues and concerns that affect our citizens and burden our communities, nevertheless many in need are not receiving care.
- Despite the resources available, there is a need to improve the coordination and collaboration among stakeholders across sectors. In addition, the cultural obstacles that prevent those in need from seeking the care they deserve are significant.
- The conclusion: to improve our nation’s overall mental health we must change our culture so that mental health is seen as an important element of the human condition — something that we all have — something that we all should pay attention to.
- This conclusion fit well with Dr. Van Dahlen’s experiences working with the military/veteran community for nearly a decade. Our nation’s service members, veterans, and their families — like civilians — are often unable to acknowledge their mental health struggles and are often unwilling to seek care because of embarrassment, shame, or guilt.
- The steering committee began to explore what a national campaign to change the direction of mental health might look like. It was at this time that Dr. Van Dahlen met John Edelman, who agreed to lend the significant support of the Edelman firm to this effort.
If you’re looking for that perfect little something to give a friend, relative, girlfriend, teacher – anyone! – this season, we have one that is unique, useful, and supports a great cause. The Dialogue Projects has selected Minding Your Mind as the beneficiary of proceeds from the sale of the White Dialogue Mini canvas clutch. #BeTheOne to share the story behind the sale and encourage everyone in your life to “talk about the elephant in the room” until the stigma of mental health is gone.
Proceeds from the sale of this clutch will go to Minding Your Mind in support of our FREE mental health education and suicide prevention programs. Click here to shop now!