I have such a strong connection to these animals and I truly believe they positively affect people of all ages. They seem to have an innate sense and so many of our students truly come alive when interacting with the dogs. They truly are furry little healers. Thank you again for coming to our school and sharing. So many students came to my office to tell me how much they loved the program and how hearing Kenny’s story moved them. Keep doing what you are doing. It helps so many.
It is I who should be thanking you! The presentation brought a few students to Guidance, all of whom decided it was time to talk. We took it one step further with one senior girl who is having suicide ideations. She will be getting treatment immediately.
During my time as Executive Director of the Governor’s Council on Mental Health Stigma, I personally witnessed the power of the AIR program, and its positive impact on young people. It was palpable, it was real, and there is no doubt in my mind that it made a difference in the lives of every participant, not just students, but parents and faculty as well.
Attitudes In Reverse® has provided our students with a most important resource. Due to the work of the AIR volunteers, our students know that they are not alone. They learn that the stigma associated with mental illness need not close them off from normal functioning….from happiness. There are people out there who will listen and help them when all seems lost. AIR tells them that they can…that they deserve the help they need.
Mrs. Baker has related to me emails from our students thanking them for opening their eyes to the resources available, and perhaps more importantly, how to be that good listener for others. We hope to continue our relationship with AIR in the future for the benefit of our students.
AIR’s presentation in my high school building received overwhelming support from both faculty and students. Its message regarding erasing mental illness stigma and letting students know it’s okay to ask for help seemed to break down the barriers as several students came up after each presentation to ask for more information. Faculty members, including teachers, guidance counselors and administrators, have requested AIR to come back and present again. I look forward to continuing my relationship with AIR and helping our students get the support they need to achieve overall health and wellness.
The Attitudes in Reverse® Coming Up for AIR™ program highlighted some myths and facts about mental illness. The AIR presentation asked students to choose celebrities they felt had struggled with mental illness; the presentation then highlighted the successful paths and varied history of many famous people. Tricia Baker also told the students about the struggles they had witnessed within their own family; she shared their personal struggles with her son’s suicide, as well as others’ reactions to his passing away. This personal revelation touched a chord in many of the students and staff at Schor. Students appeared interested in the program and it brought to light concerns that encouraged the students to reach out to the counseling department.
AIR’s presentation creates a comprehensive picture of mental health. AIR volunteers work to make sure that students are aware that many people struggle with mental illness and that there are many people to whom the students can reach out to ask for help. I think that this is a great presentation for 7th and 8th graders.
I currently live in Macon, Georgia and teach psychology courses at a technical college. I hope to utilize my own passion for mental health advocacy by bringing the AIR program to Georgia. Each semester I tell my students about AIR, and some have shared with me their own personal stories in relation to AIR’s message. When students began to open up I felt first hand power of AIR’s message. My hope is that one day the AIR program will not only be in every state across the US, but also help people worldwide to understand the complications and pain of suicide and mental illness.
AIR saves lives by educating today’s youth on the importance of mental health and the role of intervention and treatment. It creates a vehicle for people to get involved with a cause that has been stigmatized for centuries. It is time to release the stigma and be grateful that we can help with healing, education, and compassion.
AIR’s volunteers have a passion to deal with our last unspoken disease, mental illness. I have witnessed first hand the positive influence granted young students when they participate in AIR events. Seeing teens help their peers face anxiety, depression, and other vulnerabilities bodes well for all our futures. Those young, and not so young, are determined to make a difference. All of this I have observed first hand at high school gatherings, annual walks and solemn observances. So many supporters are now turning grief into action.
Attitudes in Reverse’s® (AIR) message of normalizing mental health issues for teens is of vital importance in our society. Explaining to teens that mental suffering is common and can be treated allows them to feel better about seeking help. AIR prevents others from enduring the pain that the Bakers have suffered.
“I work with people with mental health issues every day. The thing that is most consistently sad to me is that they very often have waited so long to come in to get help because of the negative stereotypes about ‘mental illness’ and their fear that they will be considered ‘crazy’ or ‘psycho’. I have to wonder how many kids I am not seeing because they fear this judgment. AIR is changing this message to our teens. It is not an understatement to say that AIR is saving lives.