This May, in honour of Mental Health Awareness Month, the Child Mind Institute (CMI) is running its #MyYoungerSelf campaign. The independent non-profit organization that focuses on the mental health of children has made videos of over 30 influential people who have struggled with mental health issues or a learning disorder since childhood. These actors, athletes, politicians and other well-known public figures share their experiences and coping tips to help end the stigma around mental health and to provide encouragement to kids going through similar struggles.
So far, videos of Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg and Gavin Newsom have been released at SpeakUpForKids.org. The intimate and uplifting videos allow each celeb to offer the advice they would have given their younger self when they first realized they were struggling.
“Don’t ever feel like you’re a weirdo for it, cause we’re all weirdos,” says Stone, who had panic attacks as a child and is a lifelong sufferer of anxiety. “To be a sensitive person that cares a lot, that takes things in in a deep way, is actually part of what makes you amazing.”
Other speakers slated to share their stories are Lena Dunham, Michael Phelps, Brandon Marshall, Keke Palmer, Nancy Brinker and Jay Leno. A new video will be released each day throughout the month. The hope is that people will watch the videos then share their own stories on social media with the #MyYoungerSelf hashtag.
So many children struggle with mental health issues and learning disorders; many try to hide them or feel uncomfortable talking about what they’re going through. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, only 1 in 5 Canadian children in need of mental health services receives them, and yet 10-20% of youth are affected by a mental health disorder. We love that these videos are opening up the conversation. When you’re a kid who doesn’t feel “normal,” it’s nice to know that someone you look up to has felt the same way. We can’t wait to see the rest of the series.