Michigan Organizations Team Up to Raise Awareness for Suicide Prevention

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one in five young people between the ages of 14 and 24 will experience mental illness.

Left untreated, mental illness can lead to bigger problems later on. Suicide is one such issue that can occur. In fact, suicide is the second leading cause of death in college students.

In an effort to increase awareness surrounding mental illness in young adults, the Ethel and James Flinn Foundation partnered with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to broadcast “Opening Minds Ending Stigma: Campus Challenges.”

This 30-minute program features inspiring and candid stories of college students and their families impacted by mental illness. It illuminates the challenges presented by mental health conditions, explores the stigma that often delays effective treatment and sends the message that recovery is possible.

The special is part of a statewide campaign that also includes new public service announcements targeting young people and college students. The campaign aims to let them know it is acceptable to talk about mental health and to seek help. A new statewide initiative to improve student mental health and suicide prevention efforts on Michigan college campuses is also highlighted in the special.

The Ethel and James Flinn Foundation, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and the Children’s Hospital of Michigan are partnering with the JED Foundation to bring the JED Campus Program to 13 Michigan colleges this fall.

“Removing stigma is an absolutely critical piece for getting young people into treatment and support much earlier. Mental health treatment is much more successful when conditions are identified early and when people are supported in getting the help they need,” said Lynda Zeller, Deputy Director for Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The broadcast program originally aired on WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids and WXYZ-TV in Detroit in September. Following the broadcast premiere, the “Opening Minds, Ending Stigma: Campus Challenges” video is available free of charge for educational and community use at www.endingthestigma.org. The site also provides additional mental health resources for young adults.

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Photo Credit: Studieforbund VOFO

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