My favorite part of being an intern for JFS this summer was working on the “You Be You” teen campaign. The entire campaign, geared towards teenagers, helps them work through their own mental problems. Growing up, it gets hard feeling like your troubles or flaws are looked down on just because you are young or different.
With the “You Be You” teen campaign, the imperfections that you think you see in yourself are actually celebrated. That is where the name comes from: “You Be You,” meaning you are exceptional just being yourself.
A primary goal of the Mental Health Coalition is to eliminate stigma. The biggest impact of stigma around mental illness, or wherever stigma shows up, is isolation, shame and the feeling of being separate from the support and care of loved ones and community. It is surprisingly more common than most people realize, as there’s a one in four chance that a person will be diagnosed with mental illness this year. With these kinds of numbers, it is important to make clear that having a mental illness is not a failing; it’s an illness that needs a different sort of treatment.
I feel proud that I helped reach out to local high schools to be a part of the “You Be You” teen campaign; I drafted blog posts to talk about the Mental Health Coalition and all the great work they do and I became an active member of my community, not just for myself, but to impact others.