Mental Health 101 offering Knox County students tools to fight stigma

Aaron Wright, WBIR 6:49 AM State

All this month, Mental Health 101 has been at Farragut High School offering every student help.

It’s the first time they've been there in more than a decade and comes one year after the school saw 3 students die from suicide.

Last month former UT football coach Phil Fulmer met with Knox County teachers to talk about teen suicide, but Mental Health 101 is designed for students and starts with destigmatizing mental health and addressing the needs of young people.

"The bottom line is - the illnesses are real,” explained Mental Health Association of East Tennessee’s CEO Ben Harrington.

The Knox County Health Department reports one in four students felt so sad or helpless they stopped doing regular activities.

1 in 7 high school students seriously considered suicide in the last year and 1 in 8 made a plan to commit suicide in the past year, according to a study from the Knox County Health Department.

Harrington believes better trained young people can turn around these statistics.

"Can I find you someone to talk to, that's a sign of strength by that person too and it's a sign of strength by that person struggling to say yeah I am having a hard time,” said Harrington.

Mental Health 101 is offered in more than 70 schools, they hope to expand it to 100.

A Knox County Schools spokesperson said they're appreciative of the Mental Health 101 and look forward to putting it into more classrooms.

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