Ending the Silence

endingthesilence-logo

Helping middle and high schoolers understand mental illness makes a big difference. We can teach them about the warning signs for themselves and their friends. NAMI Ending the Silence helps raise awareness and change perceptions around mental health conditions.

Through this free classroom presentation, students get to see the reality of living with a mental health condition. During the 50-minute presentation, a young adult living with mental illness and a family member tell their stories about mental health challenges, including what hurt and what helped.

Why Ending The Silence Matters

  • 1 in 5 kids experiences a mental health condition; only 20% of them actually get help
  • About 50% of students ages 14+ with a mental health condition will drop out of school
  • Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for 15-24 year olds
  • The earlier the better: early identification and intervention provides better outcomes

What Your Students Get

Moving stories from positive role models have the power to change kids’ views. The discussion gives students the rare opportunity to ask questions about mental health challenges to people who have lived it. The presentation’s message of empathy and hope encourages students to actively care for themselves and their friends. It also teaches them it’s okay to talk about what they’re feeling. NAMI Ending the Silence covers:

  • Early warning signs
  • Facts and statistics about youth and mental health conditions
  • When, where and how to get help for themselves or their friends
  • When it’s not okay to keep a secret

What People Are Saying

“I’m really grateful and glad that you talked to us. I often feel very alone or weird because many kids my age don’t understand. But, now I’m sure they would be more supportive of me.” -Student

“It is amazing what just one day, one talk can do. You never really know what’s going on in the brain of any particular student.” -Teacher

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Additional Resources:
Ok2Talk.org

Teens and young adults who live with mental illness can feel hopeless and alone. Many don’t know what’s wrong with them but feel like it’s their fault. Those who understand what is happening fear they can’t be helped. Because of the stigma attached to mental illness, it’s often hard for those suffering and their families and friends to talk about what they’re going through. But help is available, and it works.
The goal of OK2TALK is to create a community for teens and young adults struggling with mental health problems and encourage them to talk about what they’re experiencing by sharing their personal stories of recovery, tragedy, struggle, or hope. Anyone can add their voice by sharing creative content such as poetry, inspirational quotes, photos, videos, song lyrics, and messages of support in a safe, moderated space. We hope this is the first step towards getting help and feeling better.

Say It Outloud

1 in 5 teens live with a mental health condition and yet more than half are not getting the help they need. Stigma remains a huge barrier to teens seeking help. Many cite fear of negative perceptions as a major factor in choosing not to speak up.  Raising awareness by sharing information and starting conversations about mental health is key in reducing these perceptions and increasing the likelihood that teens will seek mental health care when they need it. NAMI is committed to helping start those conversations. We have created Say it Out Loud to get teens talking about mental health.


Kids Under Twenty One – KUTO

If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs help, call the KUTO Crisis Helpline:Open everyday after 4p.m. CST ~ Staffed by trained youth volunteers.

KUTO is dedicated to providing youth-focused programming throughout the greater St. Louis area. Our crisis prevention, suicide intervention and postvention support services include community awareness, outreach and education; a youth-staffed telephone hotline; Peer Helper Skills Training; and support for survivors of a completed suicide.

Our philosophy is simple; KUTO is teens helping teens help themselves.

We invite you to explore and use our website to learn about:


St. Louis County Youth Connection Helpline

The Youth Connection Helplines provide 24/7 crisis intervention, including mobile outreaches to home and/or community agencies to provide emotional support, referral information and linkage of services for children, youth, and their families in St. Louis County area. The program is collaboration among Youth In Need, the St. Louis County Safe Place Network, and Behavioral Health Response. The helplines also have a Follow-Up Program, where eligible callers will receive a follow-up call within 48 hours by a Follow-Up Coordinator who continues to ensure safety, assist with referrals, and/or continues to follow-up until crisis situation has been resolved or linkage to services has taken place.

St. Louis County Youth Connection Helpline | This helpline is for youth 19 and younger who reside in the St. Louis County area

CALL: (314) 628-2929 or Toll Free: (877)928-2929

*TEXT: 4HLP to 31658

WEB CHAT: www.keepingkidsfirst.org/GetHelpNow

GO: To see a list of National Safe Place sites to go to, visit www.nationalsafeplace.org



American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry