Search
  • Jessica O'Neil

STOP THE STIGMA

Teen raising awareness of youth mental health issues through Eagle Scout Project

Adam Englert – through his Eagle Scout Service Project - is on a personal quest to help the community.


Englert, 14, a freshman at Mooresville High School, has a sister with bipolar disorder. He hopes to raise awareness about youth mental health and “stop the stigma” associated with mental health disorders, especially in children and young adults, Englert said.


For his project, Englert arranged for a screening of “No Letting Go,” a film based on the true story of a boy’s experience living with mental illness and the ripple effects it had on his family, last week on National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day at Cove Church’s Langtree campus.


Brooke Kistler, Adam’s mom, was initially concerned her daughter’s mental health disorder would be brought to the forefront of the conversation. “But, a huge part of me was so proud,” said Kistler.


Joining Englert for the screening was Randi Silverman, the film’s producer and screenwriter, and co-founder of the Youth Mental Health Project, a non-profit organization seeking to help families and communities better understand youth mental health disorders.


Silverman, of Westchester, New York., is also the real life mom of three sons, one of which was diagnosed with bipolar disorder as a child and whose story is told in the film.


“He was anxious and depressed and by the time he was nine he was suicidal,” Silverman said of her son. The film shows her family’s journey dealing with his diagnosis and how the illness impacted the family, she said.


“This story is just not my story,” Silverman said, explaining how she tried to weave the central themes she has learned in 12 years of running a mental health support group into the film.


For instance, medical problems like broken bones or cancer are dealt with openly and without shame. But, those with mental health issues tend to keep quiet about it and isolate themselves, she said. When Silverman developed breast cancer in real life, she was shocked how much support she received. Meanwhile, her family, reeling from how to cope with their child’s bipolar disorder, received zero support from friends.


“I was angry,” Silverman said. “Why did I have all this now but when my son couldn’t leave the house for two years everyone disappeared?”


That’s the social stigma of mental illness Englert hopes to help erase. And to do that, people need to start talking about youth mental health issues without shame or embarrassment.

“He’s right,” said Silverman. “We don’t talk about this enough.”


Early diagnosis is vitally important in helping children with mental disorders but today it still takes an average of 10 years from the initial onset of symptoms of a mental health condition until the child receives adequate treatment or even a diagnosis, Silverman said.


Half of all lifetime cases of mental health disorders begin before the age of 14 and 75 percent before the age of 21, she said.


That’s the social stigma of mental illness Englert hopes to help erase. And to do that, people need to start talking about youth mental health issues without shame or embarrassment.

“He’s right,” said Silverman. “We don’t talk about this enough.”


Early diagnosis is vitally important in helping children with mental disorders but today it still takes an average of 10 years from the initial onset of symptoms of a mental health condition until the child receives adequate treatment or even a diagnosis, Silverman said.


Half of all lifetime cases of mental health disorders begin before the age of 14 and 75 percent before the age of 21, she said.


Meanwhile, suicide is the second leading cause of death in people ages 10-34, according to


Centers for Disease Control statistics, she said.


For more information, visit http://ymhproject.org/ .

13 views
For Life-Threatening Emergencies Call 911

© 2018 by Excel Youth.

Proudly created by The Digital Footprint