Bringing Mental Health Out of the Shadows and Into the Spotlight

Twenty percent of youth ages 13-18 live with a mental health condition. PTA is working to reduce the stigma that surrounds mental illness by fostering communities where people with mental health conditions are accepted and creating a culture where people are not afraid to seek help. 

Here are ways that you can help reduce the stigma associated with mental illness: 

  • Use respectful language to talk about mental health conditions. 
  • Do not define someone by their illness. You would not call someone cancerous; you would say they “have cancer”. The same goes for someone with a mental illness. 
  • Avoid using labels such as crazy, demented, lunatic, psycho or wacko. 
  • Challenge misconceptions when you see or hear them 
  • Offer support and understanding to someone you think is having trouble. 

As a parent or caregiver, you want what is best for your child. Fortunately, parents and families can do a lot to help create nurturing environments that support the mental health of our children. It’s also important to model self-care practices that support a lifetime of well-being for adults and children. 

Visit National Alliance on Mental Illness at for more mental health resources. 

Here are a few healthy family habits that contribute to mental and physical well-being: 

  • Get Enough Sleep – Make sure your child has a consistent bedtime and gets plenty of sleep.
  • Eat Well – Help your child eat a well-balanced diet that boosts their energy, counteracts the impact of stress, and provides fuel for their brain 
  • Connect with Friends and Family – All children want to feel supported, valued, and connected. Make sure they spend time with individuals who care about them to help ease day-to-day stress and improve their mood. 
  • Turn off the Electronics – Have your child disconnect from electronic devices one hour before bed to wind down and prepare their brain for sleep. 
  • Get Outside – Proximity to green space has been associated with lower levels of stress and reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety. 
  • Stay Physically Active – Exercise not only benefits your physical health, but it can decrease stress, anger and tension, improve sleep and boost self-esteem and confidence.