Why this Teen Girl Should Inspire You to Bust the Stigma of Mental Illness

Find out how this teenage girl showed her support of Mental Illness Awareness Week with her art at www.HeartofMichelle.com #BustTheStigma #SayItForward #MentalHealthAwarness

Alexis is a quiet 16-year-old girl. She keeps to herself and spends a lot of time drawing. She doesn't care for conflict, avoiding it at almost all costs. She always strives to be polite, respectful and to not hurt anyone's feelings. She can get along with most people with no problem.

She's a peaceable girl.


She's a Quiet Girl, but Speaks up When Necessary

On Monday, Alexis was telling me that someone she knows "doesn't believe in mental illness or at least she doesn't believe it's common."

I turned to her and said, "Uh, one in four. I just wrote a post about this today because it's Mental Illness Awareness Week. 1 out of 4 adults and 1 out of 5 children. 1 out of 17 of those has a serious mental illness like bipolar, schizophrenia or major depression. Not common? Quite the opposite."

We had a little discussion about all sorts of things. She's had several debates with friends about mental illnesses or even "disorders" that aren't mental illnesses, such as dyslexia and Asperger's. 


She's not afraid to tell it like it is. She doesn't hide from the conflict when it comes to helping others understand, or when she sees the need to bust the myths associated with a disorder.

She's bold when she has to be.


How My Teenage Daughter Showed Support of MIAW with Her Art

Later in the evening, she was drawing. She's always drawing. She is one of the most artistic people I've ever known. Most of her artwork is by hand and some is digital. The one she was working on was digital. I took this shot, which I posted on Instagram.

This teen girl used her artistic talents to help spread awareness during Mental Illness Awareness Week.

Her drawing was coming along quickly, so I decided that I'd post the finished work as a follow-up photo later. 

I was so surprised when I came back. 


I had no idea she'd been drawing a picture to help promote Mental Illness Awareness Week, but that's exactly what she'd done. 

Of course mental illness is a subject close to her heart, as it is mine. She and her siblings have bipolar disorder and she lost her father to this illness. 

It is important to her that the stigma stops. 
It's important that people have more sympathy.
It's important that people gain knowledge and leave ignorance behind.

I'm proud to share with you - her contribution to Mental Illness Awareness Week 2014.
My teen daughter is a quiet, peaceable girl, but when it comes to mental illness, she's not afraid to speak up. See the beautiful pictures she drew in support of Mental Illness Awareness Week. #BusttheStigma #SayItFoward
Her message is clear:
-You don't need to hide it. #SayItFoward
-You shouldn't ignore it. #BustTheStigma

Why You Should Be Inspired to #BustTheStigma

This girl has suffered. How easy it would be for her to hide her illness. How easy it would be, in the face of "unbelievers" such as the one mentioned above, to simply shut up.


It's difficult, when you know someone who has died from suicide, to stand up to people who think suicide is "selfish" or "stupid." She does it anyway.

It's difficult to mention bipolar and have someone say "Oh. Mood swings. That's just called being a teenager." She does it anyway.

When people say they don't believe in mental illness or they believe that it's 'overplayed,' it can be difficult to admit you support those living with these illnesses. She does it anyway.

This quiet-spoken girl, who avoids arguments and conflict, doesn't hesitate to stand up for those who are suffering. She doesn't shy away from speaking the truth.

This teenage girl does what most people won't do: She speaks out boldly for those needing understanding and support. That's why this teen girl should inspire you to #BustTheStigma and #SayItFoward


If this quiet, peaceable girl can do it, so can you. 




If you suffer from depression of any kind, know there is help available to you. If you are contemplating suicide, please call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.



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3 comments

  1. Wonderful Alexis. I am a 32 year old who has OCD and bipolar. Although I was diagnosed at 14 I rarley spoke out about as a teen and even in collge. It has not been until these past few monthes when I have been suspecting and helping manage bipolar in my 8 year old son who was diagnosed in August that I began speaking out. I am homeschooling him this year after the schools very negative response after his diagnoses of CAPD last winter.

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  2. Thank you, Alexis and Michelle. My daughter Charity Peterson shared your drawing with me. I've borrowed it, Alexis as my Facebook Profile Picture this week. I think it is wonderful, as are you. Let me know if you do not want me to use it. I feel strongly about speaking out regarding mental illness too. Best wishes always. ;`D

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    Replies
    1. David, We're thrilled that you enjoyed Alexis' art. I also saw where you shared a bit of your story (Charity tagged me) on Facebook. Feel free to connect with me anytime.

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