Friendships Count

stigma1A new anti-stigma campaign aims to teach youths about mental illness. Written by Diane Smith in the

Fort Worth – Layne Lynch sat at her piano inspired by an unusual  feeling. A tune soon emerged. It was followed by lyrics. Click to watch this clip:

This song, Dear Friend of Mine, is asking teens to be understanding to classmates, friends and siblings struggling with mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and bipolar disorder. It was inspired by a family member’s experience with a mood disorder. “It’s so cool to see people realize that it is OK to get help,” Lynch said.

The song is part of Friendships Count, a new anti-stigma campaign produced by the Mental Health Connection and Community Solutions of Fort Worth. Mental Health Connection is a collaboration of area mental health professionals, consumers (the name people with a mental illness prefer to be called) and other advocates who want to improve their mental health delivery system.

Their campaign takes the message of empathy to teens via a website and a music clip posted on YouTube. It also includes bookmarks and posters that will be distributed at schools.

Defining mental disorders and how they affect teens, can help reduce the stigma associated with illnesses.

Even though people are more comfortable discussing mental disorders today, many people still don’t understand why they shouldn’t label others as unstable or crazy; rather, a chronic disease just like diabetes. Once a teen is diagnosed, therapies and treatments can work.

We all know that peer pressure and hormones make the teen years difficult, and adults may have a hard time understanding why their kids feel sad or too scared to go to school. BUT, friends and relatives can make a difference. Parents learn that ‘It’s not bad parenting that caused this.


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