Teens helping teens, mental health group begins meetings

Flyer for Mental Health America in Allen County's new youth group program.
Flyer for Mental Health America in Allen County’s new youth group program.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Suicide has become the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, according to Mental Health America in Allen County. The organization explained on its website that in 2010, suicide accounted for more than 38,000 deaths.

Mental Health America in Allen County provides adult guardianship, client advocacy, community education as well as programs for teens, including its newest program: m8connections Youth Group.

A teen in the organization approached its leaders about having a group just for the youth.  It’s an opportunity for teenagers between 13-years-old and 18-years-old to get help.

“It’s teens helping teens. It’s not just a counselor sitting there and talking to you. It’s with teens, working out life struggles and coping skills,” Community Advocate and Education Coordinator Angela Helmsing said on First News Saturday.

“Hopefully as this time has evolved, we’re talking more about stigma, we’re talking more about mental health, to where we don’t have to feel ashamed anymore,” Helmsing added.

She continued, saying the idea of treatment for a mental illness should be no different than treatment for other medical issues.

“You know if I break my arm, it’s OK to go get treatment. Well, if my brain’s not doing what it needs to do, or I’m struggling, it’s OK to get help; it’s OK to get treatment,” Helmsing said.

Twice a month, the first and third Wednesday, Mental Health America in Allen County will host the youth group meetings at its facility at 2200 Lake Avenue in room 200. The meetings are lead by a youth and adult team. The organization does ask that people RSVP for the meetings at 422-6441 or email at reservation@mhaac.com.

For more information on mental illness or Mental Health America in Allen County, watch Helmsing’s interview from above.

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