Press Releases

10 Warning Signs

NAMI Offers Teen Mental Health Tools to Faith Communities and Civic Groups

Mar 10 2015

ARLINGTON, Va. March 10, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has launched "Say It Out Loud," a program for faith communities and civic organizations to use in reaching out to youth, ages 14 to 18, to start conversations about mental health.

"One in five teens live with mental health conditions. Less than half get help and more than 4,000 teens die from suicide every year," said NAMI executive director Mary Giliberti. "Faith communities and other organizations that sponsor youth groups are in unique positions to encourage teen conversations."

"It's time to end the silence. It's time to talk constructively about mental health with young people. It's time to say it out loud."

The "Say It Out Loud" tool-kit is free to download:

It includes:

  • narrated presentation for adult facilitators about youth mental health.
  • 5-minute video of three teens sharing personal experiences and addressing the 10 most common warning signs of mental health problems.
  • discussion guide for adult facilitators with step-by-step instructions for running a successful teen discussion.
  • Fact sheets

Teens who see warning signs in themselves or friends need to take them seriously and know how to get help.

The 10 Warning Signs

  1. Feeling very sad, withdrawn or unmotivated for more than two weeks.
  2. Making plans or trying to harm or kill oneself.
  3. Out-of-control, risk-taking behaviors.
  4. Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason, sometimes with a racing heart or fast breathing.
  5. Not eating, throwing up or using laxatives to lose weight; significant weight loss or weight gain.
  6. Severe mood swings causing problems in relationships.
  7. Excess use of drugs or alcohol.
  8. Drastic changes in behavior, personality or sleeping habits.
  9. Extreme difficulty in concentrating or staying still.
  10. Intense worries or fears getting in the way of daily activities like hanging out with friends or going to classes.

"NAMI can provide the tools, but it's religious and civic leaders who can inspire broad conversations in their communities," said Giliberti.

"We need to reach out to teens who are looking for guidance or who themselves are leaders among their peers."  

About NAMI 
NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness through research, education, support and advocacy.