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Be Stigma Free by Aksah Cherian, Oklahoma HOSA President i magine you are stuck in an airtight box. You feel unable to move, unable to breathe, paralyzed by your own thoughts. This is how mental illness feels. 1 in 5 children ages 13-18 have or will experience a serious mental health illness. 1 in 5 adults in America suffers from a mental illness. Half of all lifetime cases of mental illnesses begin by the age of 14; 75% by the age of 24. The National Alliance on Mental Illness is the nation’s largest organization committed to helping improve the lives of those affected by mental illness. They educate individuals, families, and communities to provide support and information for living with a mental illness. They guide individuals and families to get the support and treatment they need. They provide free information and referrals through a toll-free help line. They lead public awareness events and activities to encourage understanding and fight stigma. Oklahoma HOSA is proud to join alongside HOSA associations all around the world in support of NAMI. Together, we can help individuals, families, and communities access the needed support and treatment for mental illnesses. Together we can help end the stigma surrounding mental health.

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