Ending The Silence | A Mental Health Education Program for High School Students
Presented by NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness)
WHAT IS ENDING THE SILENCE?
Ending the Silence is a 50-minute program designed for high school audiences and is typically presented in the freshman/sophomore health classes during the mental health portion of the curriculum. This transformational program is devoted to giving students an opportunity to learn about mental illness through an informative PowerPoint, short videos, and personal testimony. Through the presentation, students learn symptoms and indicators of mental illness, and are given ideas about how to help themselves, friends, or family members who may be in need of support.
HOW THE PROGRAM WORKS:
The program is delivered by a trained two-person team, including an individual who relates to the student population by sharing their own journey with a diagnosable mental health condition.
Students are given a resource card with valuable phone numbers and websites for mental health agencies and youth support services along with a list of symptoms/warning signs of mental illness. At the conclusion of the presentation, postcards are mailed home to parents informing them of the program. Students are also given information regarding additional programs and services they can utilize for support.
A primary goal of this program is to create a generation of students that are well-positioned to eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness through education and advocacy.
Read student testimonials about the effectiveness of Ending The Silence here: Ending the Silence Student Testimonials
What are Mental Health Conditions?
- Mental health conditions ARE:
- Medical illnesses, like physical illnesses.
- Something that changes how people think, feel and act.
- Common and treatable.
- Mental health conditions ARE NOT:
- Anyone’s fault or something to be ashamed of.
- Limiting – you can achieve your goals!
- 1 in 5 YOUTH in the U.S. are experiencing or will experience a mental health condition at some point in their lives.
- 50% OF YOUTH AGES 8-15 with a mental health condition don’t receive treatment.
- STIGMA is the biggest reason people don’t seek help.
Truly, the meaning of stigma boils down to discrimination and hate. People with mental illness feel diminished, devalued and fearful because of the negative attitude society holds toward them.
As a result, people struggling with mental health challenges may not get the help they need for fear they’ll be discriminated against.
Know The Warning Signs
Trying to tell the difference between what expected behaviors are and what might be the signs of a mental illness isn’t always easy. There’s no easy test that can let someone know if there is mental illness or if actions and thoughts might be typical behaviors of a person or the result of a physical illness.
Each illness has its own symptoms, but common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents can include the following:
- Excessive worrying or fear
- Feeling excessively sad or low
- Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
- Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
- Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
- Avoiding friends and social activities
- Difficulties understanding or relating to other people
- Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and low energy
- Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite
- Changes in sex drive
- Difficulty perceiving reality (delusions or hallucinations, in which a person experiences and senses things that don’t exist in objective reality)
- Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior or personality (”lack of insight” or anosognosia)
- Abuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
- Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing “aches and pains”)
- Thinking about suicide
- Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress
- An intense fear of weight gain or concern with appearance
Mental health conditions can also begin to develop in young children. Because they’re still learning how to identify and talk about thoughts and emotions, their most obvious symptoms are behavioral. Symptoms in children may include the following:
- Changes in school performance
- Excessive worry or anxiety, for instance fighting to avoid bed or school
- Hyperactive behavior
- Frequent nightmares
- Frequent disobedience or aggression
- Frequent temper tantrums
What Should You Do?
- Talk to a trusted adult (more than one if necessary).
- Talk to a friend.
- Write a note and give it to someone who cares about you.
Servicing Orange County, CA residents only
Local Number 714-991-6412
9 a.m. – 3 a.m. (Mon.- Fri.)
10 a.m. – 3 a.m. (Sat.- Sun.)