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World Teen Mental Wellness Day is March 2

Thank you, H-BC students, for carrying the torch of brain health awareness and education

World Teen Mental Wellness Day is observed across the globe on March 2 every year to raise awareness about challenges facing teens and how to improve their brain health.

And in the Hills-Beaver Creek School District, students took charge of observing the day and carrying the message. (See this week’s news section for their story).

During the month of February, they raised awareness, raised money (for Carson’s Cause) and drove home the point that teen mental wellness matters.

Kudos to them for recognizing the opportunity to educate their student body and the community and for working to reduce stigmas that complicate brain health treatment.

The message for teens is, “Be good to yourself. Teen years can be difficult, and it’s natural to sometimes feel overwhelmed.” In other words, take a time out from the busyness, and take a deep breath. Life is good; just seek the goodness.

The message for parents and those with teens in their lives is, “Check in on them. Ask if they’re OK and create non-judgmental spaces.” They may need a little help, but mostly, they may just need someone to listen.

Here are five things from the World Health Organization to know about mental illness:

•It’s more common than you think. One in five Americans has experienced some form of mental illness in their lives.

•We lose thousands to suicide. In fact, roughly 41,000 Americans are lost to suicide every year.

•Stigmas are harmful: People are less likely to receive help due to the stigma about mental health.

•Prevention is possible: Addressing trauma early can prevent problems later, and taking care of physical health (such as sleep, diet and exercise) goes a long way toward helping brain health.

•Youth suffer most: One in 10 young adults has suffered from a period of major depression.

This is why World Teen Mental Wellness Day is important. While we have come a long way, there is still a lot left to do. A lot of mental health issues go unrecognized and untreated due to a lack of awareness.

Parents and caregivers of teens — and teens themselves — need to be educated and aware to ensure a better future.

And above all, we need to fight the stigma. Negative connotations associated with brain health conditions are baseless and harmful.

It’s OK to not be OK. For those who are suffering, especially silently, it can seem like nobody understands and that they are all alone in this battle.

But the point is that they are not alone, and that’s why the efforts of our H-BC students and their mentors are so appreciated. These teens get it, and hopefully their message has reached the ones who need to hear it most.

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