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'You Be You' campaign helps teens deal with mental health

Posted at 5:04 PM, Feb 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-08 18:14:41-05

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people from the ages of 10 to 24.

The "You Be You" mental health campaign hopes to raise more awareness about teens’ mental health.

Being a teenager today can be difficult. 

“We have a lot of pressure,” Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy junior Alina Bell said. “Sometimes you just panic and get down and like want to quit and you know you have no reminders of who you are or happiness in your life.”

That’s why the new campaign is hoping to open up the conversation about teens' mental health. 

“We want people to know that it's okay to be themselves,” Mental Health Coalition Coordinator Sarah Link Ferguson said. “If they're struggling with mental illness, depression or anxiety, that there's nothing wrong with them, that they're not broken.”

Through posters and positive words of affirmation, students can see that it’s okay just being you.

“It really speaks a deep message because when you try and compare yourself to other people, you’re never satisfied with who you are and you’re trying to be someone else, but if you aren’t yourself then who will be,” Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy senior Joe Porter said. 

Fifteen schools in the greater KC metro are part of this campaign. It was developed by Bernstein-Rein Advertising. 

And it's a collaboration between the Greater Kansas City Mental Health Coalition, Jewish Family Services, and SPEAK UP

“There's a lot of research and positive psychology, and it seems to be really, really impactful for especially teens to hear that they're worth it,” Link Ferguson said. 

The campaign is led by students like Porter and Bell.

“Teens are a lot more receptive of messages from their peers, so on an issue like mental health, which is really crucial to our development as individuals and as a society, makes it so much more impactful,” Porter said. 

Link Ferguson said the campaign will have various programming, suicide prevention trainings, and mental health speakers, allowing students to speak up and know that there’s help. 

“That’s the spark, that’s the seed, just starting the conversation is what starts the process to helping people,” Bell said.

The campaign was funded by the SPEAK UP program of Jewish Family Services.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call them at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).