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Answer the following question: Would you make fun or think bad of someone who has cancer or heart disease? Odds are you answered no, so why should it be any different for someone who has a mental illness? After all, it is a disease, just like cancer, heart disease, etc. A new patch program called Change of Mind seeks to educate girls about mental illness as well as heighten awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with mental illnesses.

Even if you have not experienced or never will experience a mental illness, it is very likely you know someone who has or will. Consider the following:

·        Mental illness affects one in five people at any given time

·        The first symptoms of severe, chronic forms of mental illness (such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression) generally appear between the ages of 15 and 24

·        An estimated two-thirds of all young people with mental health issues are not receiving the help they need

·        Fear of stigma and resulting discrimination discourages individuals and families from getting the help they need

Change of Mind provides clear, factual information about mental illness, the biological component that makes it not much different from other illnesses, its causes, treatment and recovery.

In addition to earning a cool patch upon completion of the program, all girls who complete the Change of Mind patch program will receive a Change of Mind silicone bracelet! Just be sure to turn in an evaluation to receive your bracelet! Change of Mind was developed by the Alabama Department of Mental Health's Office of Public Information and Community Relations. ADMH is the state agency responsible for serving more than 200,000 Alabamians with mental illnesses, intellectual disabilities and substance use disorders.




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