Ouststanding Young Advocates Recognized For Raising Awareness of Mental Health Issues
mpower Winners from Kansas, Tennessee, Ohio
Contact: Steve Vetzner (202) 744-6341 (cell) or 703-797-2588 firstname.lastname@example.org
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (June 9, 2008) - Mental Health America presented six outstanding young advocates with mpower awards for their exceptional efforts to raise awareness of mental health issues among America's youth at the Dinner and Awards Ceremony of its 2008 Conference, No Health Without Mental Health, June 7, 2008, in Washington, D.C.
A Mental Health America youth awareness campaign, mpower is supported by hundreds of musicians nationwide and reaches teens and college-age adults at concerts, in the classroom, over the Internet and through the media to help them get informed, get help and get involved with one of most debilitating health care dilemmas facing Americans today: untreated mental illness. These six outstanding award winners demonstrated extraordinary initiative and leadership in undertaking steps to combat stigma and champion mental health awareness and treatment among their peers.
Awarded 2008 mpower awards were:
Brad Luthe, 16; Wichita, Kansas
Brad has demonstrated extraordinary leadership and a deep commitment to reducing the stigma surrounding mental health conditions, especially among his peers. His personal experience has motivated him to share his story and educate youth and adults about what it's like to live with a mental health condition and what stigma feels like, as well. A Power Point presentation and interactive workshop he developed shed light on discrimination and stigma and encourage others to re-think the way they view people living with a mental health condition. Through the presentation, Brad also talks about his own personal experiences, sending the message that you can have a mental health condition and live and be well. In addition to giving the presentation before the state government and at schools and national conferences, Brad is an active member of Youth LINK (Leaders in Kansas) Consumer-Run Initiative and President of the Wichita/Sedgwick County Peers as Leaders Consumer-Run Initiative, a local peer-to-peer group for teens with mental health conditions.
Eric Vasilevskis, 18; Samuel Lewis Little, 18; Tom Corcoran, 17; Nashville, Tennessee
Eric, Samuel and Tom are sending a clear message to their peers: help is available, and it's okay to seek help. After the loss of a close friend by suicide, these three young men appeared in a public service announcement to let teens know that help is available; they don't have to go it alone and suicide is not the answer. The public service announcement is being aired on the local NBC affiliate and has resulted in a significant increase in calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for the middle Tennessee region. Eric, Samuel and Tom's participation in the public service announcement has helped reduce stigma among their peers by putting a real face to an important issue, making it okay for other youth to talk about mental health, depression and suicide.
Jared Sherman, 16; Toledo, Ohio
Jared has been a mental health advocate since the age of 8. Motivated by his own personal experience, and with the support of his mother, Dorene, Jared founded Rainbow Kids, a support group for children of parents living with a mental health condition. Over the past eight years, Rainbow Kids has evolved into Generation Y Youth Depression Awareness and Suicide Prevention Program, an independent 501(c) (3) organization of which Jared is President. In addition to his work with Generation Y, Jared has spoken at conferences, in classrooms and communities in his state and around the country, sharing his story and experience to educate others and raise awareness. And he's encouraged other youth to do the same.
Mental Health America is the country's leading nonprofit dedicated to helping all people live mentally healthier lives. With our more than 320 affiliates nationwide, we represent a growing movement of Americans who promote mental wellness for the health and well-being of the nation - everyday and in times of crisis.