Angels In Our Midst

Angels In Our Midst

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ANGELS IN OUR MIDST: Stopping the Stigma

Updated: Monday, April 21 2014, 09:48 PM CDT
They had an assignment on a topic that few people know about and even fewer talk about.
They turned to what they "do" know; social media.
That got the conversation flowing and lives changing.
Rachel Mitchell, Stopping the Stigma;  I want to be a Geneticist, a Research Geneticist,

Jayana Benavente, Stopping the Stigma;  I want to be a public health educator.

Cheyenne Steeger, Stopping the Stigma;  I want to become a registered nurse.

Lauren Dye, Stopping the Stigma;  I want to be a nurse practitioner and work in an emergency room.

Their pursuit of medical careers led these West Florida High School students to join HOSA, Health Occupations Students of America.  Their knowledge and skills are put to the test as they compete on a regional, state and national level.  While they're interested in physical healing, their assignment for competition is to address mental health.

Jayana Benavente, Stopping the Stigma;  The topic was titled, "Open Pandora's Box."

And they sure did with their project, stop the stigma. 
I didn't expect people to be responding like that.
No.  We didn't expect it to get to anything more than a project.
They post pictures of themselves holding a simple card with the name of a mental health disorder and in the caption they explain it.

Jayana;  To inform people of different mental health issues that people necessarily don't talk about everyday, that people suffer from everyday.

So far we've done OCD, depression,  What else have we done. ADHD, bipolar.

We did post traumatic stress disorder.

Not expecting anything at all, the reaction to their posts was immediate, from people all around the world.

I didn't want to include a picture but maybe one of you girls can take a photo with the name of post partum psychosis that I had after my first child was born. 

Rachel Mitchell, Stopping the Stigma;  I remember we all just, kind of like, breathed out.  And we were like, this is it; it went from being a project to a movement to helping people.  
Jayana;  We were just like everybody else.  We haven't talked about mental health before, until now.
Until now, one of their own had kept her secret too.

Cheyenne Steeger, Stopping the Stigma;   Coming from a very personal place, I have actually been there.  Freshman year was really, really hard for me.  I suffer from depression.  And even now, it's a daily, you take it daily.

Rachel;  It's kind of scary to think about the people who are stigmatizing and shunning people and making people afraid to ask for help.  And, it's like a beautiful thing when we get people who say, Thank you, because now maybe they'll go and ask for the help that they need.

They've expanded their reach from Instagram to Facebook, Twitter and Tumbler; not giving advice, just creating awareness, opening up the conversation; removing the shame.  The ladies are off to state competition but this is no longer about winning a title.

Lauren Dye, Stopping the Stigma;  We're just trying to help people look at these diseases and disorders in a different light.

Cheyenne;  I really felt like there was no one there for me.  And joining HOSA, I met my group and its really changed my life.

Rachel;  We want to stop the stigma.
Angels in our Midst is brought to you by the Children's Hospital at Sacred Heart.


ANGELS IN OUR MIDST: Stopping the Stigma

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