Are you interested in learning what mental health is beyond the stigma that surrounds it? Join us at the 2016 TRUST Conference made for teens by teens. In 2014 I participated as a student who was lucky enough to attend the conference and it was a terrific experience. I connected with teens all over San Diego over subjects that I never considered I would talk about to random strangers, let alone teens. When the conference ended what I learned resonated in me to the point where I wanted to be a part of the movement to end stigma. I wanted to come back again but this time, I wanted to be a part of TRUST on a whole different level. I wanted to be behind the scenes so in the 2015 conference I came back as a part of TRUST, I was involved in making TRUST tangible to the students that will participate that year. While I sat with members of Boost and TRUST planners I was fascinated by the whole process of making a conference possible and also successful, considering both years I went the event was completely sold out. As a part of trust I along with my peers gave insight as to how other teenagers will feel about what was planned for the conference. Not only that but we performed a play that really emphasizes the problem with stigma mental health and on the day of TRUST, I was able to look at the event through a different perspective, instead of student that is participating, I looked on as a student that was a part of making this possible for other teens to experience. I looked on as their faces were enraptured by what was before them, from different resource tables to workshops to performances, to Art that they could express what they learned that day. I felt proud that I was able to be a part of something that enlightened teens about mental health, a topic that is generally never discussed between teens. Give yourself an inspirational treat by signing up for the 2016 TRUST Conference.
– Rukiya Ali, Health Sciences High and Middle College, Senior ’15
We live in an uneducated and ignorant society that has stigmatized and marginalized individuals with different intellectual abilities. Being part of the TRUST Conference community has educated us on various disorders and the history of stigma that has surrounded individuals with mental illnesses for many generations. The stigma manifested itself through verbal and physical abuse especially when people were confined in institutions. As a member of the TRUST committee and being an audience of the conference for the past two years, I have become more educated on mental and physical disorders and have learned people first language and proper etiquette when addressing individuals. By attending the conference, I have seen a positive change in the attitudes towards individuals with mental illness. It is surprising to see that a lot of students from our schools were not being educated on mental disorders and that being at the conference was their first time discussing it. That shows that some things need to change. More schools need to teach about mental illness and becoming aware of the signs and symptoms. I have met a student who said that if it were not for the conference they would not have known that they had a mental illness and is now seeking treatment for it. The conference is very powerful because it teaches us to respect individuals with mental illness and to not let their illness define who they are as a person.
Individuals with mental illnesses are human just like everyone else and deserve equality. We should not see the individual as their mental illness but as a person who is smart and talented and will make a difference in this world. The TRUST conference allows us to be part of this movement by pledging to end the “R” word and standing up to ignorant slurs. I recommend the conference to everyone, whether they are familiar with mental illness or not because the conference will definitely change your view and it urges you to want to go out in the community and teach others. We need to change society’s outlook on mental illness from looking down on individuals with a mental illness to accepting and understanding their illness.
– Bajha Jordan, Health Sciences High and Middle College, Seniors ’15
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Tagged equality, health, high school, mental, mental health, mental illness, movement, people first, positive change, society, stigma, teens, treatment, TRUST, trust conference