Updated: Oct 14, 2021
Storyteller: Jaclyn Ricciardi and Minding Your Mind
Why do we keep reading about and hearing about young people (children) committing suicide? It is one of my biggest fears as a mother, an aunt, a neighbor and friend. Why are these children choosing to end their lives? I have been wanting to do a Night Out With Meaning on this topic, but needed to find the right angle. And then a friend of mine introduced me to Minding Your Mind, which provides mental health education to adolescents, teens and young adults, their parents, teachers and school administrators.
Night Out With Meaning featured Jaclyn Ricciardi, a Minding Your Mind Speaker who shared her story of her struggle with depression, anxiety and chronic self-injury from the time she was six years old. We had the chance to also hear from Minding Your Mind staff as they talked about their community engagement programs to remove the stigma associated with mental illness.
Jackie has been an active mental health and anti-bullying advocate since her early teenage years. She struggled with depression, anxiety and chronic self- injury from the time she was six years old. She had a terrible fear of revealing these issues to her friends and family because of the stigma surrounding mental health disorders and her seemingly perfect external life. Jackie was Student Body President, an athlete and in the top 10% of her class. Internally, she was struggling with her depression, anxiety and self-harm. Her journey to healing began when she began attending Saint Joe’s University on an academic scholarship. Through her recovery, she became President of a mental health advocacy organization on campus and has organized suicide awareness and mental health awareness benefit concerts.
Becoming a speaker for Minding Your Mind has given her the opportunity to share her experiences with people who might be feeling as isolated as she did before she received the proper treatment. She also speaks for those who may be simply unaware of the importance of mental health and for those that believe that they can easily identify the face of mental illness. She feels passionately about educating adolescents that recovery may not be simple but that it so unbelievably powerful when it is experienced.
More information on Minding Your Mind can be found on their website at mindingyourmind.org.