Stigma ends when awareness begins.

Validate their strength.

Be Honest

Why do people say they’re fine when they aren’t?

Many people hesitate to be honest about their mental health struggles due to the fear of being judged. By debunking common myths surrounding mental health, we can create a more understanding and accepting community.

Myth

Mental illness is just a weakness or character flaw.

Fact

Genetics, biology, injury, trauma, and abuse can all play a role in mental health.

Myth

My jokes aren’t hurting anyone.

Fact

Stigma continues to be identified as a reason people don’t seek help for their mental health.

Myth

All kids get moody - we don’t need to make a big deal about it.

Fact

It’s more than just mood swings. In Ottawa County alone, 20% of surveyed youth said they have seriously thought about attempting suicide. (source)

Be Heard

“My story gave them a voice.”

Step into the shoes of youth and families navigating the mental health system. By reading their stories through a lens of experience, we can cultivate empathy and contribute to building a stigma-free Ottawa County. Let’s amplify these voices and, together, we can foster understanding and support for those facing mental health challenges.

Be Helpful. Not Hurtful.

Talking about mental health can be a difficult conversation. Avoid these common mistakes when supporting a loved one.

Instead of

  • You need to toughen up.
  • You need help.
  • You’ll feel better if you just think positive!
  • But at least it isn’t worse!
  • Someone committed suicide.

Try using

  • I’m here if you need me.
  • How can I help?
  • Your feelings are valid.
  • That sounds hard.
  • Someone died by suicide.

Be Informed

Knowledge can transform.

Learning more about mental health and connecting with youth and families who have lived experience with mental illness can be a first step toward breaking the stigma. By showing empathy and support, we can all help youth in our community feel empowered to Be Honest. Be Heard. Be Informed.

Coming soon! Opportunities to learn and connect!