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The mission of Attitudes In Reverse (AIR?) is to educate society about mental health. People need to know that the best suicide prevention plan is a good mental health awareness program. In addition, AIR. tries to educate that ALL people should be treated with dignity, respect, and understanding, no matter what illness they might have. If people "act different" there is a very good chance that there is a diagnosed or non-diagnosed mental health disorder, and should NOT to be judged or criticized.
We have presented our mental-health and suicide-prevention education program, Coming Up for AIR(tm), to more than 22,000 students since we began in 2010. This presentation helps students feel comfortable opening up about their struggles, as evidenced by their speaking to counselors afterwards and being referred for mental health treatment if needed. We continually receive requests for this presentation and our IN THEIR SHOES(tm) exhibit, a powerful visual display that builds empathy and understanding for individuals who are suffering mentally or emotionally. In addition, we recently established a chapter in California and are hearing of interest in establishing chapters in other states.
Our goal is to educate children, teenagers and young adults that mental health disorders are real, biologically based illnesses so they will not feel ashamed or embarrassed if they develop any of these disorders, which affect 25 percent of the population. Fifty percent of mental health disorders develop by age 14 and three-quarters of mental health disorders develop by age 24. However, less than 40 percent of individuals with mental health disorders seek help. Stigma is the greatest barrier, and education is essential to overcoming the stigma. With a proper understanding of mental health disorders and the comfort and ability to get treatment as early as possible, suicides can be prevented.
- Kurtis Baker
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