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Stomping Out the Stigma of Mental Health

January 23, 2019
Sam Haas

Orange, Connecticut, United States

“I continue to be inspired by BBYO teens. In the wake of tragedy, BBYO teens came forward and asked for more resources and support around issues of Mental Health.  Three years later, Stomp It Out has become the largest teen Mental Health event in Connecticut.  To see 600 Jewish teens taking part in this event, talking freely about mental health on a Saturday night speaks volumes of the strength of the BBYO teen movement.” —BBYO Northeast Director Josh Cohen

Did you know that roughly 25% of adults experience mental illness? Or that depression is the first leading cause of disability in the world? As we walked into the Danbury Crowne Plaza, or the “DCP,” we saw booths lining the perimeter of a party room. Each booth had its own attraction, but there was one common theme between them all: mental health awareness.

Last Saturday night, over 600 teens, from four different regions, gathered at the Danbury Crowne Plaza to “stomp out” the stigma surrounding mental health.

While Connecticut Valley Region has held this event since I joined BBYO almost two years ago, only this year my community and I felt the real impact of this event, as the number of attendees spoke great volumes about the growing awareness towards this issue. The feedback of CVR teens was also very meaningful!

“The fact that over 600 teens came to ‘Stomp It Out’ and end the stigma about mental health is inspiring. It shows how many people truly care. Everyone who attended learned more about mental health while having a great time with their friends... what more could you want in an event!” —Zoe Jaffe-Berkowitz

“I learned how to have positive conversations about mental health, and it felt great to have such a large supportive community with me” —Zach Sobel-Pressman

“Stomp It Out brings awareness to a serious issue in a way that allows kids to both have a great time and find a deeper meaning at the event” —Jacob Silbert

As the leaders of our own future, we as BBYO teens need to understand that having a mental health issue is not a choice, but rather an illness. We need to rise up against the stigma surrounding mental health and work together to create a movement of compassion and inclusion. That is precisely what occurred last Saturday night, and I cannot be more proud to have been a part of it.

Sam Hass is a BBG from Connecticut Valley Region and she loves ultimate frisbee.

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