Break the Stigma

Help Your Kids Be
Mentally Healthy

For years, there’s been negative stigma surrounding mental illness. But the truth is many people live with a mental health disorder (oftentimes undiagnosed), including teenagers.

49.5% of adolescents have had a mental health disorder as some point in their lives.

One of the best ways to fight the mental health stigma is to normalize it by talking about it often. You can decide when to have conversations with your kids, but the sooner you do it, the easier it is for them to break the stigma so they can be mentally healthy.

Talking with your child about their mental health may not be easy, but there are many resources on this site to support you. Here are four tips to help fight the stigma surrounding mental health.

Tip 1: Treat Mental Illness Like a Physical Illness

Mental illness is a disease. If your teen is going through a tough time mentally, treat them as you would if they were physically sick — allow them to take a day off school and/or make a doctor’s appointment.

Tip 2: Choose Empowerment Over Shame

One of the best ways to fight the stigma is to own your story. Encourage your teen to own their mental illness and allow them to talk about it freely at home.

Tip 3: Show Compassion

Even if you don’t fully understand what’s going on with your teen, you can still show compassion and empathy. Let them know you care, you’re always there to support them, and you love them.

Tip 4: Ask for Help

If your teen is showing signs they may need treatment or has asked to talk to someone, listen to them and validate their feelings. Professionals like psychiatrists and therapists are here to help them manage their mental illness so they can continue leading healthy lives.

See How People Have Embraced Mental Health

Mental illness doesn’t discriminate; it can affect anyone, of any race, at any age. Click on the video links below to watch stories of hope and healing.

Family & Parents:

Living with Someone with Mental Illness & How Therapy Can Help

Young Adults:

Opening Up About Mental Illness Despite the Fear

Conquering Depression and Asking for Help in College

BIPOC Community:

Mental Health & Substance Abuse in the Native Community


Healing After Genocide & War

LGBTQ+ Community:

Mental Health Resources for LGBTQIA+ Community

Faith Community:

How Faith Communities Can Support People with Mental Illness

Using Faith to Keep Hope Alive

Tips, Tools & Resources

If you’re looking for more tips on how to have hard conversations, you’ve come to the right place. There are resources below for you to use to help kids live long, happy, and healthy lives.

This resource-rich site also features ways for you to easily find local support, contact us and learn more about the Region V Prevention Network.

Pastor Thomas shares how his faith and relationship with God helps him keep hope alive.


As a pastor, Thomas works with many people facing mental illness. He shares how faith communities can be supportive.


As director of the LGBTQA+ Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Pat sees students struggle with mental illness. She shares local and national resources to help.


An advocate and volunteer with the Yazidi community, Laila shares how she understands the ways trauma contributes to depression and anxiety.


A member of the Navajo Nation, Georgianna shares her unique struggles with substance abuse, mental health and her recovery.


Early in her college years, a traumatic incident triggered depression, anxiety, and PTSD in Sadie. With professional help, she found help and healing.


Jason experienced years of trauma and the mental health impact it had. He understands the pain and the hope that comes from opening up and talking about his mental health with others.


Audrey was raised by a parent with a mental illness. After seeking therapy and learning how to interact in a world better than the world she grew up in, she’s gone on to live a healthy, successful life.


1 in 5 teens will experience a mental health diagnosis and half do not receive the treatment they need.


Stigma causes people to feel ashamed for something that is out of their control.


Many adolescents experience positive mental health, but an estimated 49.5% of adolescents have had a mental health disorder at some point in their lives.


False beliefs about mental illness can cause significant problems.


Being uncomfortable in your own skin is a hard feeling to navigate, especially in regards to a teen’s self-esteem…


Many teens are aware of their unhealthy habits that are leading to a decline in their health. They are sleep deprived and stressed-  negatively impacting their lives…