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Hi! My name is Sarah and I am a teenager who struggled with my own mental health during the covid pandemic. 

My family is one that has felt the loss that can come with mental illness. My great grandfather was a World War I vet and recipient of the Victoria Cross. Though I never met him, I always admired his story. Later in life I learned that he had died by taking his own life. When he did his story was one that was kept hidden, and few really understood what had happened. Today though, we know that he was suffering from severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Due to a lack of mental health education, he was left unsupported.

This was a different time of course, now we know much more about mental illness and instability. Even so, mental health has been an issue on the rise. According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, around 50% of adolescents currently has or has had a mental health disorder at some point in their lives. Especially during the pandemic, it became increasingly clear that young people were struggling. Knowing that there were resources available, and that the effects of mental illness can be dire, I wondered why little seemed to be done to help teens. 

That's why I started the "No Stigma" campaign. Through our annual events, I hope to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental unwellness among teens and encourage youth to speak up for themselves and others. While our events allow both adults and teens alike, I hope teens may become equipped with tools to better understand themselves and what they may be going through. I know for myself how hard mental health issues can be, and no one should have to struggle alone.

As our slogan says, "Let's talk about it!"

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