One in four teens will experience a mental-health issue this year, but less than 20 percent will actually seek treatment. The rest will go untreated, voiceless. These are numbers we can’t ignore—numbers that Minding Your Mind refuses to ignore.
I’ve had anxiety from the time I was 6. It evolved into clinical depression by the time I was in middle school. With no positive coping mechanisms, I started cutting myself at the age of 12. In my late teens, I was contemplating suicide. I didn’t begin therapy until college, where I finally discovered how powerful positive coping mechanisms can be and that recovery is possible.
Before I started working for Minding Your Mind at the age of 19, I wasn’t aware of how many people struggled like me. Over the past nine years, MYM has grown to become a leading provider of youth mental-health education throughout Pennsylvania and beyond. Our goal is to reduce the stigma and destructive behaviors often associated with these issues. Through our young-adult speaker presentations, mindfulness programs and mandated teacher-training programs, Minding Your Mind provides real-life insight into the world of someone who has struggled with mental-health disorder.
Being able to connect with young people about the reality of mental-health issues is an amazing feeling. I often wonder how my journey through my teen years would’ve been different if I had the opportunity to hear an MYM speaker in middle school and learned that I’m not alone in feeling this way, that help is available and that, even with my imperfections, I am enough.
—Jackie Ricciardi, young-adult presenter, Minding Your Mind