Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Counselors & More.

Early Intervention Saving Lives

Tactics For Early Intervention

Increase Awareness And Services

Fifty percent of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24. So, to treat mental health conditions early, and it’s critical we increase services available to young people. We must also increase awareness about those services, so that when a young person begins struggling, they know where to find them.

Increase The Pipeline

To increase services, we have to talk about workforce development. How do we incentivize people to enter into and remain in the mental health provider space? How can we reduce barriers to receiving the necessary qualifications to provide mental health support? How do we empower and support peer specialists and school psychologists/social workers?

If we want more services, we have to invest in the people who provide them.

Increase Preventative Measures

When it comes to our physical health, we often speak of preventative measures to reduce the likelihood of serious illness. For example, we talk about exercise, diet and adequate sleep to prevent the likelihood of cardiovascular disease. There are similar preventative measures we can take to protect our mental health too, such as mindfulness, breathing exercises, challenging unhealthy thought patterns, developing supportive communities and more.

We need to explore how we can bring education about self-care, healthy coping mechanisms and other protective factors to young people. Providing youth and young adults tools for resilience can help guard them from developing more serious mental health challenges when they encounter stressors later.

How To Make Change

Thinking about all of the pain young people are experiencing right now and how much systemic change still needs to happen can be overwhelming. It’s important to remember that, so often, change begins on an individual level — change can begin with us.

Addressing the youth mental health crisis and saving lives through early intervention starts with making the simple and intentional choices to show up for the young people already in our lives every day by doing simple things like:

  • Asking them how they’re really doing
  • Reminding them it’s OK to not be OK
  • Assuring them they are not alone
  • Helping to connect them to resources

If you want to get even more involved, you can advocate with your local school boards, city councils and state legislatures to increase mental health professionals, education and services in schools.

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Sharing Stories of Recovery

Having a mental illness can be lonely, isolating and scary. But when people share their stories of coping with mental illness or substance use disorder, it can provide inspiration and hope and be a welcome reminder that you are not alone in your challenges.

Below are just a few examples of websites where people share their personal stories of hope and recovery. In some cases, there are opportunities to join in the discussion or share your own story.

Voices for Recovery

Voices for Recovery is a program of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) with personal stories of people recovering from mental and/or substance use disorders. These individuals are celebrating their successes and sharing them with others to help educate the public about treatment and how it works.

Hearing Voices of Support

Hearing Voices of Support is an initiative of the Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA) to promote acceptance, support, hope, and recovery for people living with schizophrenia and related brain disorders.

SARDAA notes that people with schizophrenia or a related brain disorder “are often reluctant to talk about it for fear of being judged or discriminated against. We’re working to change that. We’ve invited people to speak openly about the voices they hear.”

Personal Stories of Triumph

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) presents a series of personal stories from people living with anxiety, depressive, obsessive-compulsive, and trauma-related disorders. You can learn about their experiences, how they have coped and what helped them find hope and recovery.

NoStigmas Project

The NoStigamas project is working to raise awareness, reduce stigma, foster understanding and create conversation through self-expression. It offers a variety of ways to share experiences of mental illness, through stories, art, photography, poetry, music and advocacy.

The project encourages you to share your story: “Just like everyone has their own path to healing, everyone has a unique way to share their story.”

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