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National Alliance on Mental Illness A self-help organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with a serious mental illness support education.

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Presentation on theme: "National Alliance on Mental Illness A self-help organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with a serious mental illness support education."— Presentation transcript:

1 National Alliance on Mental Illness A self-help organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with a serious mental illness support education advocacy KEY MESSAGE: You are not alone

2 Overview of Talk Rationale for mental illness school education Warning signs of mental illness Stigma associated with mental illness How the Breaking the Silence school education project teaches about mental illness

3 BREAKING THE SILENCE: Teaching the Next Generation about Mental Illness Recognize the warning signs of mental illness Learn that mental illness is treatable Fight the stigma that surrounds mental illness

4 The importance of mental illness education Mental illness is not generally included in the school health curriculum. At least 1 in 5 adults suffer from a mental illness in a given year – Surgeon General’s Report 2000 5 of the 10 leading causes of lifetime disability are mental illnesses – and depression leads a list that includes bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, OCD, and substance abuse. Global Burden of Disease Study, 1990 Illnesses like AIDS and breast cancer affect far less people, but ARE an accepted part of the health curriculum Substance abuse is regularly taught, but without reference to mental illness which is often a co-occurring disorder

5 How common is mental illness in children & adolescents? 1 in 10 children and adolescents suffer from a mental illness requiring treatment Before the age of 14 half who will develop a major mental illness are already showing symptoms Of those needing it less than 1 in 5 will receive treatment Suicide is the third leading cause of death in teenagers ages 15 to 24. Surgeon General’s Report - 2001

6 Impact of Untreated Mental Illness in the Classroom Inattentive students Poor attendance Bullying Disruptive behavior Weak social skills

7 Mental illness affects people from all walks of life, regardless of age, race, income, religion, or education Mental illnesses are no fault brain disorders Jessica Lynch Miss New York State 2004

8 What are some of the mental illnesses that affect young people? MOOD DISORDERSMOOD DISORDERS – depression, bipolar disorder THOUGHT DISORDERSTHOUGHT DISORDERS – schizophrenia, bipolar disorder ANXIETY DISORDERSANXIETY DISORDERS – examples: phobias, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder EATING DISORDERSEATING DISORDERS – anorexia, bulimia

9 What are the warning signs of mental illness? Dramatic changes in behavior Persist over an extended period of time Affect quality of life Typical symptoms  Personality and extreme mood changes  Changes in sleep and eating patterns  Inability to concentrate and cope  Extreme anxiety and irrational fears  Bizarre behavior and speech  Social isolation  Reckless and uncontrolled behavior  Suicidal thoughts and actions

10 Stigma Let’s talk about Stigma

11 Stigma Deeply Rooted in Our Culture Every socioeconomic group tends to devalue people with mental illness Stereotypes reinforced by the media -- Television -- Radio -- Press -- Commercials/print ads -- Movies

12 Stereotype of violence People with mental illness are frequently portrayed as villains in TV and movies On soap operas 2/3 of people with a mental illness are portrayed as violent More likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators One out of six people with a mental illness has been a victim of a violent crime Jack Nicholson in the movie The Shining

13 Stigma Learned at Early Age Children’s media parallels adult stereotypes Predominant image is violent, fear producing Message is that isolation not treatment is the answer Sheldon Silverstein, Uncle Shelby’s ABZ Book

14 Impact of stigma on access to care and opportunities  Second class status of mental health coverage  Scarcity of child psychiatrists – only 6,000  Lack of housing leads to homelessness  Limited job opportunities  College acceptance may be impacted if mental illness is disclosed  Not enough money for research

15 How does stigma affect someone struggling with mental illness? Feelings of shame and isolation Loss of friends Future thrown off course – education, profession, marriage Lowers self-esteem

16 How are families affected by stigma? Feelings of secrecy and shame Difficult to get family member to accept treatment Family becomes isolated from friends and extended family NAMI study showed that 70% of their members’ marriages ended in divorce

17 How are siblings affected by stigma? Loss of relationship with brother or sister Am I responsible? Feelings of neglect Survivors guilt Will I get it? Fearful of classmates and friends finding out

18 What impact does stigma and mental illness have on schools? Families afraid to disclose psychiatric problems Teachers often not trained to recognize or handle mental illness in the classroom School personnel fearful of speaking to parents about psychological problems

19 BREAKING THE SILENCE: Teaching the Next Generation About Mental Illness For three grade levels: upper elementary, middle school, and high school Each grade level packet includes lessons with fully scripted questions and responses, posters, games and definitions. User friendly and fully scripted Lessons are story based Emphasis on serious mental illness

20 Following up in the classroom Suggested cross- curricular activities Topics for further study Annotated book/video lists Recommended websites for further exploration of the topic

21 Elementary School - Fighting Stigma Lisa’s story Lisa’s brother who is seeing a psychiatrist is called “a mental” by an insensitive classmate Stay-at-Home Mondays Jessica, who suffers from depression is isolated and treated abusively by her peers Knock-Knock Who’s There? David suffers in silence as caretaker for his formerly fun loving mom who is in a deep depression Role plays Using brain puppets students practice listening and responding empathetically – Listen, Care, Ask, Suggest

22 Middle School – Fighting Stigma Stop Pretending Poems Poems illustrate the cruelty of other students who make jokes about the author’s older sister who has developed bipolar disorder. Famous Persons with Mental Illness Word Search Includes names such as Lincoln, Mark Twain, and Monica Seles who suffered from a mental illness The Brain Game A board game in which teams compete in answering review questions. Game cards provide multiple examples of stigmatizing and stigma busting behavior.

23 High School – Fighting Stigma Ross Szabo – bipolar disorder Director of Youth Outreach for the National Mental Health Awareness Campaign Ross travels around the country to college campuses educating people about mental illness Featured in stories in Seventeen and Parade magazines Jessica Lynch - depression Miss NYS 2004 Made mental illness her platform Meera Popkin – schizophrenia Actress. Major roles in London and Broadway productions Continued to pursue her musical theatre career despite her illness Ross Szabo Lectures at colleges

24 Elementary School – Symptoms of Mental Illness Stay at Home Mondays – depression Multiple moves caused Jessica to withdraw socially Didn’t want to go to school Complained of aches and pains Suicidal thoughts Knock-Knock Who’s There Mom’s dramatic change in behavior Unable to cope with functions of daily living Can’t get out of bed. Sleeps too much. Brains Can Get Sick Too poster

25 Middle School – Symptoms of Mental Illness A Mother’s Day Gift Story of a high school student’s struggle with schizophrenia. Extreme anxiety Bizarre and obsessive behavior Deterioration in grooming Grades went down. Couldn’t concentrate. Delusions – The CIA was after him. Nothing to Sneeze At Story of Emily’s resistance to acknowledging her OCD Fear of contamination Counting rituals Excessive hand washing Late to school The Brain Game Team competition questions include symptoms

26 High School – Symptoms of Mental Illness Schizophrenia as a Thought Disorder Delusions – paranoid thoughts Hallucinations – auditory & visual Excerpts from books, short stories --Lori Schiller told by TV it was her responsibility to save the world. --Brandon Fitch felt covers on magazine covers were jumping out a him --Colors too intense to bear --Couldn’t block out background noise Are These the Normal Ups and Downs of Adolescence or Mental Illness? --Students asked to distinguish normal from abnormal behavior Warning signs of Mental Illness Poster

27 All Levels – Treatment works Elementary “Brains can get sick too, but with treatment they can get better” poster Lisa’s brother in “Lisa’s Story” is being treated for his mental illness Treatment for mental illness compared to treatment for other illnesses such as heart disease. Middle School “Nothing to Sneeze At” ends with Emily agreeing to see a therapist. Story describes a form of behavioral therapy used to treat people with OCD. In “A Mother’s Day Gift” Brian requires hospitalization High School Introductory lesson goes into detail about comparative success rates for treatment of mental illness compared to heart disease. Examples of young people being successfully treated for mental illness..

28 National Health Education Standards support teaching about mental illness STUDENTS WILL: Comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention. Demonstrate the ability to access valid health information and health promoting products and services. Analyze the influence of culture, media and technology and other factors on health. Demonstrate the ability to advocate for personal, family, and community health.

29 How teachers can integrate mental illness into the existing curriculum Teach tolerance toward people with mental illness as part of anti-bullying/ character education curriculum Integrate into Substance Abuse curriculum. At least half the people with mental illness self- medicate by using drugs or alcohol

30 Why teach students about mental illness? Recognize warning signs in themselves and others Encourage early treatment Combat the stigma that surrounds mental illness Discourage bullying and abusive behavior Create a more compassionate and concerned society


32 Contact us for more information BREAKING THE SILENCE NAMI Queens/Nassau 1981 Marcus Avenue, C-117 Lake Success, NY 11042 (516) 326-0797 or (718) 347-7284

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