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[mental illness awareness month

Depression by Kristen
In honor of mental illness awareness month Inspirations for Youth and Families decided to have an art therapy based group session with our teens about the importance of mental health. As a dual diagnosis treatment center, many of our clients also suffer from co-occurring mental illness disorders. Through this group session, we made sure to set aside time for our teens to talk about what it feels like to live with a mental illness.

Why is mental health important?

As defined by the World Health Organization mental health is being in a state in which every individual realizes his or her potential, can cope with the normal stressors of life and make a contribution to their community. Maintaining your emotional health is challenging for anyone but it is even more difficult for a teen struggling with a mental health issue.

For those unable to cope with their mental illness this frustration often leads to self-medication. Sadly, the end result may manifest itself into addiction. It is important for our teens to understand this connection as they tend to be the primary reason why they began abusing drugs or alcohol.

What can you do to help?

After going over why their mental health is important our groups decided to talk about what they can do to help themselves and others. Our teens then discussed among themselves how they can help others and came up with a fantastic art project on educating others about the most common mental health illnesses.

Here are some art pieces explaining what the common disorders are and how it feels to experience them:

This roundtable group discussion helped our teens to come together as a group and talk about an issue many of them face without shame or discrimination. All our clients walked away learning a lot about themselves as well as their fellow peers. This open discussion has allowed them to see mental health in a new light.

In support of May being Mental Illness Awareness month, we encourage you to share information on this all too important topic or just your thoughts on living with a mental illness by using the hash tags #mentalillnessfeelslike. If you are more private you can submit your work to MHA anonymously here.

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