By Joan Grinkmeyer, Upper School Counselor
What do Princes William and Harry and Duchess Kate have to do with a Park Tudor Upper School Assembly on February 8? Both the Royals and speakers from the National Alliance on Mental Illness that visited our school that day are working to demystify mental illness.
Recently, the young Royals inaugurated the HEADS TOGETHER challenge, “a mental health awareness and de-stigmatization campaign selected as the charity of the year for the fund-raising Virgin Money London marathon. Their proposal involves a commitment to share the stories of those affected by mental illness so that others will see that “not keeping quiet and carrying on” but speaking out will help others avoid the burden of misunderstanding of mental health challenges. As 1 in 5 Americans face a mental health challenge, it is important that we address this issue, too.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has great information on its website with powerful usable resources to provide the facts with action plans to get help. NAMI speakers at the Park Tudor assembly highlighted the help that is available for mental health conditions.
Another free resource site is teenmentalhealth.org/toolbox. The material is easy to understand and reminds us that “having a mental disorder shouldn’t be any different than experiencing a physical illness.” However, it is important that professional health care assistance is consulted if a mental illness is suspected. “Early identification and effective intervention is the key to successfully treating the disorder and preventing future disability.”