A new anti-stigma campaign aims to teach youths about mental illness

FORT WORTH — Layne Lynch sat at her piano inspired by a feeling.

A tune soon emerged. It was followed by the lyrics.

"Trying to find words to tell you why I act the way I do. No limitations, but I feel restricted. All these thoughts in my head collide," sang Lynch, 17, a senior at Colleyville Heritage High School.

The song, Dear Friend of Mine, is asking teens to be understanding with classmates, friends and siblings struggling with mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and bipolar disorder. It was inspired by a family member’s experience with a mood disorder.

"It’s so cool to see people realize that it is OK to go get help," Lynch said.

The song is part of Friendships Count, a new anti-stigma campaign produced by Mental Health Connection and Community Solutions of Fort Worth.

Mental Health Connection is a collaboration of area mental health professionals, consumers and other advocates who want to improve the mental health delivery system in Tarrant County. Community Solutions works to help families and children find the best mental health care and reduce stigma.

The campaign takes the message of empathy to teens via a Web site and a music video that is posted on YouTube. It also includes bookmarks and posters that will be distributed at area schools.

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