Community holds conversation on youth mental health


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Leaders and experts came together in Lansing to have a conversation about youth mental health.

The goal of the discussion was to try and reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and prevent young people from committing suicide.

Organizers say, at one point or another, most people are going to need some sort of help when it comes to their mental health.

“If you see changes in the people around you, your coworkers, your friends, your loved ones, say something,” Carmen McIntyre, Associate Chair for Wayne State University’s Department of Psychology, said.

McIntyre added one of the key things to watch for is changes in behavior.

“You’ll see, you know, a kid that was previously good in school, and really active in sports, suddenly, they’re withdrawing. So there’s usually signs that people can pick up on,” she said. “And part of the purpose of something like today is to know that this isn’t moody teen behavior. But this is actually, kind of, warning signs of something we should look into.”

Lansing’s branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI, held a community forum Monday evening. McIntyre, along with several other experts, and State Senator Curtis Hertel, Jr., shared their own stories about mental health.

“At the end of the day, we’re all struggling with things,” Hertel said.

Community Mental Health Authority of Clinton, Eaton and Ingham Counties says the rates of suicide and depression among young people are on the rise, adding there are many reasons for that.

“Certainly pressures that youth are facing in today’s society. Certainly the amount of things that youth are involved in. Certainly the lack of connections, whether that’s due to social media or other outlets. The amount of trauma that’s happening with youth in our communities,” Gwenda Summers said.

But the message from the panel to everyone is if you are struggling, there is hope.

“These aren’t hopeless things,” McIntyre said. “Depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, these things everybody thought ‘that’s forever, it can’t be treated.’ Absolute rubbish. There’s hope, and there’s help for everybody, and you can get it.”

If you or someone you know is struggling, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255, or text “Connect” to 741741.

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