Pride Month Series: AIR Features Role Model Jessica Verpeut
Attitudes In Reverse® Presents Powerful Exhibit to Build Understanding
of Mental Health Disorders and Save Lives
PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY (May 5, 2021) – Attitudes In Reverse® (AIR™), a Princeton-based nonprofit, will present its powerful In Their Shoes™ exhibit for the first time since the pandemic began on Saturday, May 15, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Dowling Gardens (2 Dowling Parkway, Woodland Park, NJ 07424; Rain Date: Saturday, June 6, 2021). This event, which is being held with support from the Woodland Park Range and Woodland Park Stigma-Free Task Force, will also include the Coming Up for AIR™ mental health education and suicide prevention presentation.
AIR created the In Their Shoes exhibit several years ago to build understanding for others who experience mental health challenges, including suicidal thoughts. From the start, the exhibit has been a compelling way to build empathy so that individuals who are struggling are supported and not judged.
“Our hope is to get young people to ‘see’ themselves in the thoughts and emotions noted on the shoes, and to encourage them to reach out and get help. We want to build empathy and kindness towards those who are struggling,” said Tricia Baker, YMHFA, CPDT-KA, Co-founder of AIR.
The exhibit consists of 277 pairs of shoes to represent the New Jersey youth, ages 10 through 24, who lost hope and ended their lives in the years 2014 to 2016, according to the 2018 New Jersey Youth Suicide Report published by the state’s Department of Children and Families. Most of these individuals – 196 – were young men.