In 2008 NAMI Seattle board members and supporters collaborated to create this interactive presentation targeted at middle and high school students ages 13-18. Educating the Next Generation, or ENG, is designed to fit into a health class period, or 50-60 minutes. Its focus is to decrease stigma and misinformation and open the conversation about mental health.
At Bishop Blanchet High School, we have brought in the Educating the Next Generation program for the past two years because we consider mental health education increasingly important to our young people, not just for their understanding, but for their ability to seek help when they or those they care about begin to have difficulty coping with their lives. Our young people are already dealing with mental illness in their own lives, whether they are aware of it or not. They may have a friend or family member who has a mental illness. They may be suffering symptoms from anxiety or depression and not want to share because of the stigma. We do not want fear to be the first response to the words, “mental illness.” We do not want those who kill children in schools or homeless people to be the only faces that come to mind when they think about mental illness. We want our young people to understand the biological foundations and that effective treatments are available. We want them to understand that anyone can develop a mental illness, and anyone can seek treatment and live a long and fruitful life. The SPU nurses who deliver the information and share personal stories are very effective in helping our students to understand that anyone can be affected. Their openness encourages our students to tell their own stories. We are very grateful that this excellent program is available to educate our young people about mental illness.- Pam Palasz Counselor, Bishop Blanchet High School
Trained interns work in pairs to deliver the information and create connections with students. This program is typically offered in the spring, in partnership with Seattle Pacific University interns and faculty. NAMI Seattle makes ENG available at no cost to local area high schools that commit at least one health period to the program. If you are a Seattle-area school looking to schedule a presentation, please contact our Program Manager, Lyndsay Campbell.