Stigma Free sponsors "Mental Health Is In The AIR" assembly


The Woodland Park Stigma Free Task Force recently sponsored the "Mental Health Is In The AIR" assembly for Beatrice Gilmore School fifth graders and Memorial Middle School sixth graders. The program was presented by AIR (Attitudes In Reverse) founder Tricia Baker, who spoke with the students about brain health.

Fifty percent of mental health disorders present by age 14, and the suicide rate of those 12 and under has doubled in the past 10 years. AIR works to reach young people early to talk about good mental health before the onset of symptoms to help save lives.

Many with mental health disorders suffer for an average of 10 years before getting help. "Can you imagine living with cancer, diabetes, or other diseases for 10 years?" Baker asked the students. "When you take care of your whole body, your brain benefits."

Baker detailed the items that students need in their mental health tool kit: sleep, time with friends, movement, healthy eating, writing our your troubles, creative time, hugging your pet, listening to your favorite music, relaxing, and volunteering.

One coping mechanism in the tool kit is "hugging your pet," so following Mrs. Baker's presentation, students got to meet Goofy Goober, a certified AIR therapy dog.