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The Children’s Hospital Colorado Mental Health Youth Action Board was created in 2013 to generate social action around mental health. Each year, a group of 15 teens from across the Denver metro area create an arts-based project to share with the community.
This year’s project is a group of four video stories called “Stigma Speaks." Stigma is too often the voice of mental health, and these videos shed light on the reality. We encourage you to use these stories to start honest conversations about the stigma so that we might move beyond it.
“When I was thirteen” was created to build awareness of the startling rates of mental health challenges in the LGBT community. Emma produced this video in an abstract way to capture the fact that suicide is not easy to define, and everyone’s stories are different. This video is meaningful to Emma because it not only raises awareness about the topic, but also ends with hope for people fighting similar battles. It will have done its job if even one person understands that they are not alone.
We consciously and unconsciously avoid talking about mental health, creating a society where individuals are silent. Men and boys play ball and talk about sports. Men can’t cry and talk about their “petty” emotions. We shut out our cries and say, “I’m fine.” Creating this video was a way to address this issue we have been unconsciously doing. We can only fix this mental health stigma when we recognize it.
This group wanted to show that recovery is possible after being bullied. The idea for the video was sparked after an activity to create a metaphor for our experience with mental health. The four members of this group all created a similar paper metaphor depicting the effects of being bullied. They all started off unmarked, then were harmed by people’s words or “folded," and finally, they all experienced “smoothing out” and recovering. The video gives us hope that recovery from bullying is possible.
The goal of this video is to combat the way mental health is treated by society. The group chose to satirically represent what it would look like "if physical health were treated the same way as mental health." Being part of this project provided an outlet to obtain medical parity for physical and mental health. The team hopes that the video can inspire others to advocate for, or at least be aware of, the problems with societies' response to mental health ailments.
Learn more about our Mental Health Youth Action Board.