Five Oakland County teens, members of UMatter, a Friendship Circle-based program focused on teen mental health, got up in front of a crowd and shared their stories in a program called “One Thing I Wish You Knew” March 21.
They shared stories of how they overcame challenges like verbal abuse by an alcoholic parent, battling an eating disorder, struggling with undiagnosed dyslexia and dealing with severe depression.
“The purpose of this event is to spark a conversation that needs to be happening,” said Rabbi Yarden Blumstein, teen director at Friendship Circle in West Bloomfield. “Teens, and their families, are currently sitting through a crisis in isolation and thinking they’re the only ones going through that. We need to come together and share our stories of challenge, strength and hope in an effort to build a community of resilience. This all starts with a conversation.”
Julia Abramson, a member of UMatter, said, “We hope people walk out of here saying, ‘Wow, these kids got up in front of a crowd to speak about their problems. I should be able to tell my parents that I’m struggling, too.
“Many people think that struggling with mental issues is something to be ashamed of, but it’s not,” she added. “Everyone should have the chance to get help.”