asha international mental health

We Give Hope

Stories Change Lives

  Most American teenagers — across demographic groups — see depression and anxiety as major problems among their peers, a new survey by the Pew Research Center found. The survey found that 70 percent of teenagers saw mental health as a big issue.    At ASHA International, our youth Storytellers are dedicated to sharing their stories to give hope and let their peers know they are not alone, and encourage them to get the help they need to recover and thrive. Together, we are creating a safe space where students can talk about their struggles and support each other with empathy and compassion.   Here is feedback from students about our Let‘s Talk About Mental Health Program at local high schools in February:   “Right now, I’m going through something really hard. But the presentations have convinced me that recovery is possible and I can get over it.”   “Very inspiring! As a person struggling with anxiety, this program was very uplifting & safe.”   “I’ve been struggling with my mental health for years and never asked for help and like the storyteller said – she tried to commit suicide and nobody knew – that’s what happened to me. The storytellers made me realize in order to feel better, I must seek help.”   “Some of my friends are dealing with mental illnesses and the presentation gave me a different view on it, and how to help them.”   “I went to the same middle school as the Storyteller, and it is comforting to know that there are people at my school who can help me with my problems.”   “The personal stories were very...

Let’s Talk About Mental Health

On August 23, 2015, Bekah Miles sat in her chair, staring. Could she do it? Would she do it? No. Yes. She was so tired of hiding, tired of pretending, tired of her illness. But since that wasn’t going to change anytime soon, maybe it was time to change her approach. To take her life back, if she could. After ten minutes of debating, she did what millions do every minute – she clicked the “post” button. Then she walked away from Facebook, torn between chewing her fingernails down to stubs and shrugging her shoulders and insisting it was no big deal. Bekah’s Facebook post was only intended for family and friends, but within days it had reached millions, starting a national and international conversation about depression. Mental health issues are a leading impediment to the health and wellbeing of high school and college students. Left untreated, mental illness – including anxiety, depression and eating disorders, can lead to school failure, family conflicts, substance abuse, violence, juvenile & criminal justice involvement, and even suicide. Sadly, suicide is the second leading cause of death among those 15-24 years old. More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza and chronic lung disease combined. Treatment is effective. Yet, because of the shame and stigma surrounding these issues, mental health is not discussed and too many students are suffering in silence. Bekah wants to change that – She wants to share her story to dispel the stigma surrounding mental illness, and encourage fellow students to seek the help and support they need to recover and...
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