HealthVoices of Hope


'Stop the Silence' mental health series is for teens: ‘It’s important to speak out’

'It’s important to speak out, whether it’s for yourself or someone you’re concerned about'
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Posted at 9:53 PM, May 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-16 23:13:18-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The stress, isolation and uncertainty over the past year has taken its toll on many, especially on children and teens. That is why mental health experts believe it is important to reach out to young people who may need help.

“We really do want to focus on youth because a lot of the conversation around the pandemic and mental health has been related to school and the whole virtual schooling versus in-person, a lot of missed opportunities and just the overall social isolation that they’re feeling,” National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Central Virginia Program Coordinator Jeff Conley said.

Accordingly, NAMI of Central Virginia, one of the largest grassroots mental health organizations, is planning to host a series of community wide virtual events beginning Monday, May 17.

The program for teens 13 and older and families will focus on many aspects of mental health, including warning signs, resources that can help and real-life testimony from people who have experienced a mental health crisis.

“Pretty much any NAMI program has that peer perspective, that lived experience that really sets our programs apart from other groups,” Conley explained. “We’ve been there and we can really speak to what recovery looked like for us and for our family members.”

Experts say even small signs in children and teens can lead to bigger problems so they say openness is key to getting help.

“It’s important to speak out whether it’s for yourself or someone you’re concerned about,” Conley said. “If you go with your gut and say what you feel you need to say, you can potentially save someone’s life and make a positive impact for that person.”

To learn more or register for the event, visit