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Youth Villages joins Change Direction Initiative

March 27, 2015

Youth Villages recently announced our involvement with “The Campaign to Change Direction,” a national initiative to create a new story in America about mental health, mental illness and wellness.

Change

As part of the collective effort led by Give an Hour, Youth Villages joined 50 other campaign partners in this effort with its pledge to spread awareness of the five signs of emotional suffering to the 23,000 children it helps each year and their families. The organization will use its 2,700 staff and all of its communication channels to spread the word to donors, volunteers, mentors and foster and adoptive parents.

Inspired by discussions at the White House National Conference on Mental Health in 2013, “Change Direction” is a response to the way society addresses mental health. One in five Americans lives with a diagnosable mental health condition, and it is expected that more Americans will die by suicide than in car accidents this year.

“Youth Villages is proud to join this important effort because recognizing the signs and symptoms of mental illness is so important to the well-being of America’s children and families,” said Tim Goldsmith, Ph.D, chief clinical officer for Youth Villages. “Mental illness can limit a child’s potential for success, but effective help is available. Recognizing the signs of illness early can make all the difference in getting the right help.”

The campaign launched at a mental health summit at the Newseum on March 4, which included a keynote address from First Lady Michelle Obama, an appearance by Academy Award-winning producer of “Silver Linings Playbook,” Brue Cohen, and a performance by G.R.L., a musical girl group that was personally touched by the issue when their lead singer, Simone Battle, committed suicide in September 2014.

“Give an Hour is proud to lead this collective impact effort of partners from every sector of society as we change the direction of mental health in our nation,” said Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, founder and president of Give an Hour. “By creating a shared mission, by educating Americans about the five signs of emotional suffering, by encouraging compassion and action, we can change our culture to reflect what we know to be true—that mental health is not something to be afraid of or embarrassed about.”

Youth Villages encourages individuals and other organizations to “help change the direction” of mental health in our country and let your voices be heard by joining us in making a pledge, however large or small. The simplest pledge is one that anyone can do: Learn the five signs of emotional suffering so you can recognize them in yourself or help a loved one who may be in emotional pain. To learn more or to make a pledge to Change Direction, visit www.changedirection.org.

About The Campaign to Change Direction
The Campaign to Change Direction initiative is a collection of concerned citizens, nonprofit leaders, and leaders from the private sector who have come together to create a new story in America about mental health, mental illness, and wellness. This initiative was inspired by the discussion at the White House National Conference on Mental Health in 2013, which came on the heels of the Newtown tragedy.

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