The human mind is one of the most complex structures in the universe. Even in early infancy, it is capable of taking in a wide variety of inputs. Still, in our early years, we’ve only unlocked a small portion of its potential. Our brains actually continue to develop into our twenties. Accordingly, the U.S. Government embraces a definition of youth that continues until we turn 25.
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All children deserve the opportunity to live healthy, productive lives. Our society assumes this will happen for all children, but it’s critical that we know the essentials for actually making this happen. We know that the key is to start investing in young people’s futures early and continue those investments throughout their formative years. But, do we know what to invest in?
The love and support of family is one of the most valuable recovery resources for a person with serious mental illness. However, advocating for a loved one with serious mental illness can be stressful, confusing, and exhausting. As a result, family members often experience a host of emotions, including sadness, guilt, grief, and acceptance. This means ensuring needed supports are in place for families is an important component of supporting individuals with serious mental illness.
SAMHSA’s National Suicide Prevention Lifeline answered over 1 million calls in 2013. One of those calls was from a 15-year old named Jackie. Later, after her crisis had passed, she contacted us. Jackie said, “You guys have saved my life. I am 15 years old and was going through a rough time. … A lady named Denise saved my life. After a failed attempt a couple days ago, I was going to try again. But she helped. A lot. A complete stranger saved my life.