Talk about Mental Health Awareness

This quarter, we explored our quarterly theme, Mental Health Awareness, by talking about autism, mental health, and teen homelessness and addiction. Let’s take a look at some of the things we talked about.

Mentoring A Dream’s vision is to support parents, caring adults and mentors with resources to help their teens succeed. Each quarter we focus one of the challenges they face and provide some insight into how you can help them navigate them.

Let’s take a look at Mental Health Awareness

Mentoring a Dream Mental Health Logo

Mental Health Awareness – Autism

There are many learning disabilities that we can talk about here. Autism is one we have probably heard a lot about. Like many of the diseases and conditions, it isn’t just about being aware of them, but also accepting that they exist and being understanding and kind to those who are dealing with it.

In April’s teen challenge, we answered the question what is Autism? Autism is a serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact with others. It is also referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Challenges with this disorder vary greatly between people affected by it and there is currently no cure. People who have autism come to accept who they are and the people who support them accept them for who they are.

Autism Awareness Month

Our featured author was Michael McCreary, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, mild form of autism, at the age of five. Then his parents enrolled him in the Stand up for Mental Health program at the age of thirteen. Here he found a positive outlet for his anxiety and met the founder of the program, David Granirer. McCreary trained with Granirer to create his comedy act, “Does This Make My Asperger’s Look Big?”. He was a contributor to the 2015 book published by the Autism Society called Autism: The Gift That Needs to be Opened. Through these experiences, he is now a self-defined Aspie Comic, which is a stand-up comedian who uses his love of the theater and being funny to breakdown the misconceptions about Autism Spectrum Disorder.

And for a great resource, we featured Autismworks. It is a business that focuses on enhancing the lives of people with autism and those who love them. They do this by providing resources through online education, celebration, inspiration, diversity and inclusion. It was created by Tyler McNamer and his family.

Mental Health Awareness

As we continue our journey into May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month, we looked into Mental Health issues in general.

Our teen challenge focused on an article posted by The Recovery Village Drug and Alcohol Rehab. They help people on their journey to lifelong recovery through evidence-based addiction treatment. The article was brought to my attention by Enmanual Batista, an Outreach Specialist at their Columbus facility and is called Parents Guide: How To Help Your Teen Cope With Mental Health Issues. This guide has some great information to help us learn more about teen mental health.

Then our featured author was Gayle Forman. Her writing career started with writing articles for Seventeen magazine with a focus on teens and social issues. She continued those themes into the many books she has written since. Forman has written books in multiple genres, but there are a couple of her young adult ones I would like to feature here. Two of her most popular books come from her If I Stay series, If I Stay and Where She Went give us some great insight into teens and how they face mental health issues.

And finally, we conclude the month with our quarterly featured resource, The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). It is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. The NAMI website has a special section for teens and young adults called Kids, Teens and Young Adults. This is a great source of information to help them find the mental health support they need.

Teen Homelessness and Addiction

To round out the quarter, we talk about teen homelessness and its relation to addiction in June. Do you know how these are connected? According to the American Addiction Centers, most research shows that 2/3 of homeless people have a history of drug and alcohol abuse issues. Some homeless teens are a part of this statistic.

Teen Homelessness and Addiction Logo

In our teen challenge, we talk about how teen addiction can be a contributing factor to the cycle of homelessness. Teens typically don’t become homeless by choice,

Teens become homeless because they feel that is better than their current situation at home. Many teens get kicked out of their homes because of an addiction they are not getting help for. – Jewel

And I feel the best way to understand the impact of a disease or consequences of decisions made is through someone else’s experience. Our featured author, Travis Sackett, shares his story in his book, My Life with Karma. It is about his becoming addicted to opioids while recovering from injuries he sustained in a motorcycle accident. His story, like many others provide us with a look of what could happen if we find ourselves on a similar path.

What did you learn?

So, what did you learn through our mental health awareness journey this quarter? I hope you picked up a few new facts that you can discuss with your pre teen, teen or young adult, because mental health matters. Please let me know in the comments what you took away from this quarter’s content.

Have a great week!

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