NAMI DuPage and Tri-Town YMCA join forces to Run For the Mind

So much has changed since I was a teen. Cellphones, the World Wide Web, and social media didn't exist. Big hair and shoulder pads are out of fashion. And there are more than three channels on TV.

We've come a long way since I graduated high school, mostly for the better. One of the biggest advances we've made is in the understanding of mental health. But like social media, parents may not have kept up with these changes.

When I make presentations at schools, the number one comment I get from students is that their parents don't understand or don't believe that their child needs extra help. I get it - I was there. We grew up to believe that mental health issues were all "in our heads." Health class was about the physical body, not the mind. And because of that, I was late to the game in getting help for my daughter, Samantha, when she started showing signs of mental illness. (Names have not been changed in order to comply with our mission to end the silence and stigma surrounding mental health.)

Prior to COVID-19, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data found 1 in 5 children had a mental disorder, but only about 20% of those children received care from a mental health provider. Some experts estimate that since the pandemic, the number may now be as high as 2 in 5 children.

To address the need for accurate and engaging mental health education for students, NAMI DuPage developed a program called "Ending the Silence," more than a decade ago. The evidence-based program is now used at NAMI affiliates across the country and was presented to more than 14,000 students in DuPage County last year. Due to the increased need for programs for younger students, NAMI DuPage has adapted the program to younger audiences and now offers a modified "Ending the Silence" program to 5th-8th grade students.

Please join us and our partner, Tri-Town YMCA, and Run for the Mind on Saturday, June 25.

The money raised at this event goes directly to youth programs. There will be a 5K for all ages, a 1-mile kids run, and a diaper dash. All runners will receive a pancake breakfast after the run. Cheering crews can buy a breakfast. For more information and to register, visit our website:

For information on NAMI DuPage and our many programs for youth and adults, go to To learn more about Tri-Town YMCA and their child care and summer camp programs, their website is

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