A simple "How are you?" could spark a conversation about mental health that could, in turn, greatly help someone who's struggling. In January 2018, the Ad Council teamed up with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the Jed Foundation (JED) to create "Seize the Awkward," a campaign geared toward empowering teens and young adults to break that seemingly awkward, uncomfortable silence and actually talk about what they're going through.
This past spring, "Seize the Awkward" launched a video with Billie Eilish where she spoke about people stepping in and helping her in times of need. Now, for Suicide Prevention Month, a series of new videos have launched with singers Hayley Kiyoko and Christina Perri, rapper Aminé, and violinist Lindsey Stirling. These musicians each share a message on how reaching out has helped them personally or has aided loved ones in their lives.
The videos all have a common theme of self care, care for others, and the importance of fostering supportive relationships. An Ad Council spokesperson told POPSUGAR that the organization picked these musicians specifically due to their huge young adult fan bases. "We're hoping to reach the friends of young adults ages 16 to 24 who are struggling with mental health issues because we know young adulthood is a critical time when many people experience great stress from multiple life changes like leaving high school and moving from home to begin college or to start working. It's also a time when mental health issues frequently emerge."
That's true. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people between 10 and 24, according to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It can be hard to ask for help, so it's crucial that people look out for warning signs. These signs may include the following: a person not acting like they normally do, having loss of interest in the things they used to enjoy, talking about feelings of hopelessness, being more reckless, or isolating themselves from family and friends.
According to the AFSP, there is no single cause to suicide, but it most often occurs when someone suffering from a mental health condition experiences stressors that they can't cope with. If you or someone you know is struggling, visit "Seize the Awkward" for more information. And ahead, check out the newest video installations from this campaign featuring four talented artists who've all gone through their own battles with mental health.
In an emergency: If you or your friend needs urgent help, call 911 right away. Or even take your friend to the emergency room for assistance. If you feel it's safe, stay with your friend or find someone to stay with them until help arrives.
In a crisis: You are not alone, and help is always available. Get immediate support 24/7. Reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting SEIZE to 741741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. It's free, and everything you tell them is confidential, unless it's essential to contact emergency services to keep you or your friend safe.