Minding Your Mind’s primary objective is to improve the lives of adolescents and young adults by providing education aimed at reducing the stigma and the destructive attitudes and behaviors associated with an often avoided topic, mental illness. Mood disorders have been identified by the World Health Organization as the third cause of disability worldwide. As the age of onset for these brain disorders is often during adolescence, it is important that factual information and open dialogue occur during the middle and high school years. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in this age group and the second cause of death in college students. Over 90% of completed suicides occur when the individual has been diagnosed with one or more psychiatric disorders. While serious, these illnesses are treatable.
During the past four years, through our Speaker Program, MYM has reached thousands of college, high school and middle school students throughout the Philadelphia area. Our speakers, dynamic young adults who have struggled with mental health issues, visit schools and other organizations to share their stories and recovery. 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. The speakers have all received training to insure that their presentations are delivered in a professional and knowledgeable fashion. The speakers are inspiring and provide the students with a better understanding of the signs and symptoms of mental disorders, emphasizing that they are treatable and that help is available.
An additional component to the Speaker Program is an evening program which provides an opportunity for the parents, teachers and other school personnel to meet and listen to the same speaker the students heard earlier in the day. While the speakers are very knowledgeable, they are not trained licensed mental health professionals. Many times parents want answers to questions for which the speaker is not qualified; therefore, mental health professionals, volunteering their time, are present at the evening sessions.
Our Speaker Program has received laudatory responses from area schools and organizations, and our speakers are very often invited back to speak at the same school on multiple occasions.
To obtain further information or to book a presentation, please contact Trish Larsen at firstname.lastname@example.org
Since 2006, Minding Your Mind (MYM) has sponsored a free forum every May in recognition of Mental Health Month. Over the past three years, MYM’s forum has become the largest publicly attended mental health forum in the Greater Philadelphia region.
Our forums continue to attract close to 1,000 attendees. Increased funding will assist MYM’s efforts to build attendance, particularly among our community’s most vulnerable populations, and increase the information and services available throughout the Greater Philadelphia region. Our forums help diminish the stigma of mental health disorders while increasing public awareness of the impact of mental health issues on individuals, families, and society-at-large.
Forum attendees gain:
The World Health Organization has reported that 4 of the 10 leading causes of disability in the United States and other developed countries are mental health issues. By 2020, major depression will be the leading cause of disability in the world for women and children.
Preventing the progression of depression and other chronic mental health disorders is one of the top priorities for Minding Your Mind (MYM). To this end, MYM is currently funding research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Center for Neurobiology and Behavior. The Center has already identified evidence of specific DNA variants that increase the risk of developing Bipolar and other chronic mental health disorders. Additional research will potentially enable medical professionals to identify people at risk for developing chronic mental health disorders prior to exhibiting symptoms.