Ending the Silence – National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI)

By Alaina Joby , Grade 9       

In honor of Mental Illness Awareness Week, the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) organized a presentation this October 8th to educate and spread awareness about people with mental health issues. Three volunteers from the NAMI came and gave an interesting presentation for a small, but captivated audience, most of whom have experience with mental health or have a family member or loved one who is currently diagnosed with a mental health disorder.

Simone Porcu, one of the volunteers, told us about the different causes and symptoms of people with a mental health illness and what we, as a friend or family member, could do for this person and how we could prevent suicide. He mentioned that he joined NAMI after a couple of his friends committed suicide. The presentation had very helpful points and statistics and videos high school students had made regarding the matter.

Emily Wu Truong, another volunteer, told us her life story and how she had paved her own way to become successful in life. She told the audience about her own childhood experiences, and how depression and anxiety had kept her lonely for most of her high school life, which eventually led her to join NAMI and became a noteworthy volunteer. She advises us to give ourselves a pep talk when we seem to be down.

Personally, I really liked this presentation. I had read about people with ADHD and Anorexia before but I never really realized how it affected those people.

The statistics were shocking too. At least 20% of the young adult population in the States between ages 15-18 suffer from a mental health disorder. Most of them either end up in prison or commit suicide, so we should take steps to reach out to them. That was a little intimidating but, now I know what to do when someone I know goes through all of this.

The part of the presentation that was emotional for me was Emily’s childhood story. I can’t begin to imagine myself in her shoes, she seems to have gone through a lot. Just imagine how other people with mental disorders might be dealing with life!

To summarize, this presentation opened my eyes to a whole different world. People dealing with a mental disorder shouldn’t be treated like rubbish, they deserve a chance in life too! I would highly recommend people to go for more awareness programs like this and make a change in someone’s life.

If you are interested in getting more information of this organization, visit www.nami.org and help make a difference!

Want to bring Ending the Silence to your school?  Here’s how:  http://www.nami.org/Find-Support/NAMI-Programs/NAMI-Ending-the-Silence