Students gather at Lake Orion to talk mental health and smash the stigma

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Mental health took center stage in Lake Orion on Friday.

High Schoolers are saying enough is enough when it comes to the stigma that's stopping kids from coming forward. So the school district decided to invite other districts to join in and think about mental wealth, not just health.

"I struggle with depression and anxiety," said Carly Redman. "So a great way to control my mental health is to join a program that really focuses on that so I can advocate for myself and others are going through the same thing." 

Real stories. From successful young people just like themselves.  

Carly Redman isn't shy about talking about mental health and her own struggles.  The hope at this conference that tours mental wealth is to make sure not one student feels alone.  

"It was really hard to talk about but once you break down that barrier and talk to other people about it, you don't feel alone anymore," Redman said.

Students offering support or SOS is a program that Lake Orion schools out together.  Students from Bloomfield Hills, Clarkston, Troy, Ferndale joined them Friday.  The message is that you are never alone.  Carly has moved on to college.  She's visiting her old high school where her mom teaches.  The mother and daughter determined to squash the stigma. 

"We don't have the answers. Lake Orion doesn't have the answer, teachers don't have the answers, if we did we wouldn't have suicide," said Carly's mom. "We feel that involving students and peers and other districts and schools around and if we can out reach and share ideas to help with the struggles we face we thought that would be important."

"To hear it from someone who's actually experienced it really makes a difference because you get to see how real it is for some people and we work every day to improve people's way of living and help them," said Darian Dijanni. "But to hear from someone who is actually a have to experience it makes what we do a little more valuable." 

"We tied ribbons with each other and showed how we are all connected by complementing each other and I think this is what it's about it's about being connected," said student John Balian. 

And finally these cards.  Emergency contacts of sorts.  Everyone filled out five names of people they would call if they feel hopeless.  

A hundred students from across metro detroit, many strangers at the beginning of the day - now friends bonded with the hope that things can always get better even on the darkest days. 

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available for anyone going through a hard time. Call 1-800-273-8255

Mental health resources: 
https://www.henryford.com/services/behavioral-health/mental-health/children-teens
https://www.uofmhealth.org/news/archive/201304/access-mental-health-care-lacking-children-teens-across-us
https://www.michigan.gov/mdhhs/0,5885,7-339-73971_7117_77104_77105-388308--,00.html