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    Language Matters

    Jun 15 2022

    The words we use have power and can, even unintentionally, contribute to the stigma associated with mental illness. To address this, the Well Beings Campaign developed the Mental Health Language Guide to equip adults, regardless of their experience, with person-first language tools for discussing mental health concerns with youth.

    On this episode, Alita McCalmon, project lead for the Mental Health Language Guide and Senior Manager of National Education for WETA Television, talks to us about the guide and shares how our language can help create safe spaces for youth, our LGBTQIA community members, folks with disabilities, people with mental health conditions, and more.

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    Resources for This Episode

    Transcript for Audio

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Hello, welcome to Mentally Healthy Nation, a podcast of the American Psychiatric Association Foundation. I'm today's host, Christopher Chun-Seeley.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: We are all complex beings that bring to the table unique ways in which we communicate. We learn through natural interactions, how to describe situations in a way that allows others to understand what we're saying. For thousands of years, we've created short hands to engage in quicker conversations and invented new words that allowed younger generations to express themselves in more creative and relevant ways.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Unfortunately, we continue to see how some of the language that we use furthers the stigma around mental health. We must flex these creative and intelligent parts of our brain to adjust the language that we use, because our words have power. On this episode, we are joined by Alita McCalmon, the project lead for the Well Beings Initiative, Mental Health Language Guide, and senior manager of the national educator for WETA Television. Join us for this crucial conversation on how we can shape our language to better fight stigma and create a mentally healthy nation for all. Thank you so much Alita for joining us here today for this crucial conversation. Before we really dive into what is in the language guide, could you share some background information with us about the Well Beings Initiative and why it started?

    Alita McCalmon: Yeah, of course, actually the Well Beings Initiative started before I joined WETA. It was in about 2015 when WETA aired The Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, which was a six hour film based on a Pulitzer surprise winning book. And this led to another film on genetics, which led to our dedication to a multi-year multi-platform campaign called Well Beings. And the goal of Well Beings is to address the critical health needs in America.

    Alita McCalmon: And we decided to launch the Well Beings campaign with the youth mental health project as one of three mental health films, that address topics such as caregiving, rural health and more. And then as we grew the platforms, this included support in advance of and following the films with original digital content, user generated content, my team national impact, and engagement and education materials relating to those things.

    Alita McCalmon: And in the case of the youth mental health crisis, where we normally would promote a film about three to five months before air date. The crisis in the nation, youth mental health in the nation was kind of exacerbated by the pandemic. And we felt we couldn't wait any longer. We needed to address youth mental health ASAP. And we announced two years prior to the air date of the film Hiding in Plain Sight, which will be airing in June of this year.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Thank you so much Alita for that background information. And I have to applaud Well Beings Initiative for bringing mental health into the conversation of physical health. You can't have your physical health, you can't have health without mental health. It is all encompassed together. And I think the emphasis of that throughout the entire wellbeing initiative, if you haven't seen the website or seen some of the different things that have gone out there. Alita just mentioned the film and the trailer just dropped for Hide in Plain Sight around the youth crisis, which here at the foundation with our school based initiative we are very much a part of a lot of the work that's going on in the promotion behind that film, but we have to still do a lot more work. And I'm really happy that Well Beings Initiative didn't just invest in a film but also focused on the resources and really this language guide. And so what kind of prompted the initiative to create this language guide as a part of this two year promotion for a documentary film?

    Alita McCalmon: Well, first and foremost we're storytellers. And as an organization, our role specifically pertaining to the Well Beings campaign is to raise awareness and educate and help reduce the stigma and discrimination related to mental health. We wanted to change the national conversation. We believe firmly that if people talk about mental health, people may seek help. It becomes more comfortable in conversation. You can build safe spaces.

    Alita McCalmon: And we just wanted people to understand that no matter what you're going through, you're not alone in this life. So when it came to the guide and building the guide, we noticed that there wasn't really a comprehensive resource like this on how we talk to each other, or how we talk to our peers or professionals or youth about mental health. So as we started working on it, we learned new terminology and we learned how to change the words that we are socialized to use.

    Alita McCalmon: So for example, committed suicide versus died by suicide. We realized that there was a need for consistent language to talk about these things. And it originally was supposed to be used internally for our projects as we made films and talked through these serious mental health concerns. But then we realized it would be beneficial for everyone. So we joined forces with some professionals in mental health, yourself included, and we decided to put this guide out and share it widely.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: I didn't know that it was intended to be an internal resource to inform the filmmaking and the media side of things. I think that's honestly so wonderful. One of our first conversations on the podcast was around trauma informed communities. And how media plays such an important role in that. So again, I guess applauding Well Beings for really taking to heart, being a trauma informed company and really trying to understand the way in which their portrayal of mental illness and mental health and mental wellbeing and getting to this idea of we are Well Beings as an initiative in taking that to heart.

    Alita McCalmon: And one of the most important things that I've learned in doing this work is that youth are the experts of their own experience. So by listening to their stories and allowing for them to live their truths and share their journeys, we learn so much, not only about the mental health concern, but the people who are living with these things. So, as I said before, we're storytellers. And we're also learning while we are telling these stories. So I've got to give the filmmakers props for that. The way it's presented in the film, they are learning so much about how youth are personally impacted by this mental health crisis. This mental illness crisis rather.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: It's such a wonderful opportunity, I think for others, especially if you're listening in and you happen to know somebody in media to offer up how this language guide could also inform the way in which they're talking about mental health. And the next question here that I have is about how the guide starts. Explaining the importance of person first language. Can you elaborate a little bit more on what it means to use a person first recovery model?

    Alita McCalmon: Absolutely. The person first recovery model addresses people as people, and not their ailments. So in this case, not the state of their mental health, regardless of what you are living with, what you are feeling, you are always a person first. So essentially what you're dealing with doesn't define you. You can be recovering from a substance use order just as you could be recovering from oral surgery, but only one of those things is stigmatized.

    Alita McCalmon: So for some reason, society has conditioned us to focus more on the condition than the person. And we want to shift that narrative with the person first recovery model. The way we talk to and about people with mental health concerns can impact how they feel about their own recovery. So if we show humans that we see them as humans and not what ails them, we give them an opportunity to see themselves as the same. And that has the potential to aid in the recovery.

    Christopher  Chun-Seeley: If you're listening in and you have a mental health diagnosis, I hope you really hear that you are so much more than your mental health diagnosis.

    Alita McCalmon: Absolutely.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: And you are a person first. And though maybe I have a little bias towards this part of the guide, I would also love if you could touch on the idea of calling individuals community members and why that's so important.

    Alita McCalmon: It's important because we're all a part of a community. We're not alone in this life, despite how you may feel. It's important for people to understand that these aren't just random people or outliers. These are people that you see every day and everywhere. The person who bags your groceries, your siblings, the guy who just mowed the lawn loudly for the past 30 minutes. These people in your community live with mental health concerns every day, whether you realize it or not.

    Alita McCalmon: So acknowledging that these are community members, and these are people who you may not know are dealing with these things. I think that helps to shift the way in which we talk about mental health. It's not this random thing that should be stigmatized or should be looked at judging. People are people, people are people, and they are represented by the faces you see daily.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: People are people. I'm going leave it at that. That's so wonderful. And you've touched on this a little bit in the way in which I think some of the phrases are so easy for us to not think about, in our daily language that mental health disorders and diagnoses are often used as terms to really describe negative situations. The weather is so bipolar. Or I'm so OCD. And I don't think people really have bad intentions. The intent behind those phrases aren't malicious right. It's just a learned phrase and they've just always just attached it to it. But we unknowingly add to the stigma around these issues when we use those phrases. Can you explain how the guide approaches these phrases?

    Alita McCalmon: I will first like to begin with, this is not an implication on you as a person if you have used these terms before. Like you said, we've kind of been socialized to do this thing. And I cringe because as I was learning more, I realized, wow, I have said that before. And I didn't realize what I was doing in the moment. So the section of the guide kind of holds us to task as people to rethink how we use mental health diagnostic terms.

    Alita McCalmon: If you're not actually talking about the mental health diagnosis, we shouldn't use those words at all. But again, we've all done it, but when you know better, you do better. So using words like bipolar, OCD, making offhand comments about suicide in conversation, when you're not talking about the seriousness of those terms. One, you can accidentally unintentionally trigger someone who's really dealing with that or make a community member feel uncomfortable, talking about their mental health concerns with you. So we just have to be a little bit more careful and cognizant about how we use certain words. Because I'm not a clinician. So I shouldn't be using the terms bipolar if I don't understand the implication of what that means.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Me personally, growing up in Wisconsin the term the weather is so bipolar is something that's in ingrained. Because the weather is so unpredictable. And that's really what we... I mean if we can just better describe our situations. And we're intelligent beings. And we have a very wide vocabulary that can be used to describe these situations so much better than adding to the stigma. And I think your point is so well heard that we're not trying to shame anybody listening who might have just used that term right before listening to this podcast episode.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: But that there's great guidance in this Well Beings language guide that helps you to understand, okay, well, when I say this phrase, how can I quickly address that? One of the terms that I have found that I used too much, and I've continued to... Is when I'm really busy, I would just like, "I'm crazy busy." And that's not what I mean. It's hectic. Right now it's very hectic for me. That little shift has been something that I've even tried to remove from my verbal vocabulary, but it's really tough. Even if somebody who sits in this space of mental health and anti-stigma work, there's still work that I have to do. And I think that's something we all have to acknowledge.

    Alita McCalmon: Yeah. And I would like to make it a point that we are constantly evolving as humans. And to give yourself grace, if you slip up. The key there is not to expect perfection from yourself, especially as you're unlearning things, but to catch it. I used to say that I was obsessed with Candy Crush and as I was doing this work, I had to realize like, whoa, wait, no. I just really love playing Candy Crush. So doing those small changes in the way that you speak and not beating yourself up about it, I think that will help to make these permanent changes. Again, you don't know what you don't know. When you know better, you do better. It's not a switch that you can flick. You'll have to stop yourself a few times to get it down pep. Just as long as you're continuously doing the work, then there's no worries there.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Yeah. Give yourself grace and give others grace too.

    Alita McCalmon: Absolutely.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: We're all learning. And I think the more that we can have these intentional conversations. When our friends or our family members do make mistakes and they say these phrases, and we can correct them in a loving and a compassionate way. That's so much more passionate way, that's so much more better received than shame, or coming at them with disrespect. You don't know what you don't know. And I would love to use that to my advantage. Let's pretend that I don't know anything about youth mental health, because the guide really does a good job of laying out the basics of youth mental health. So what are the basics that I need to know, our listeners need to know if they don't know anything about youth mental health?

    Alita McCalmon: The most important thing to know is the end goal. The end goal is to ensure that the youth that you are talking to about mental health or trying to address or break through to. The goal is to make sure that they feel heard, they feel seen, they're comfortable. They feel respected by you. Speaking to youth about these matters, a resounding theme is that sometimes they feel talked to or talked at, they don't feel as though they're being spoken with.

    Alita McCalmon: And these youth are the experts in their own experience. But on the flip side, don't be afraid to say or do the wrong thing when trying to support someone, just show up. So this guide was designed with the basics in mind. There are a lot of contributing factors to mental health, especially in youth, but if you're starting the conversation surrounding these topics, we have to acknowledge that everything we're doing here is for that end goal. To make sure that they feel heard, we don't want to alienate them and make them shut down in any way, just listen more than you speak.

    Alita McCalmon: Just let them know that you are here for them, that you want to know what they are dealing with so that you can support them. Ask open-ended questions with no implications behind those questions. How can I support you? How can I help you? What is it that you need? Do you want to talk about it? Things of that sort. Those are essentially the basics. We're here to support these people, wanting to support themselves through this guide, while they support others. So the goal therein again, make sure that the youth feel loved, respected, heard, and seen, and just ask them questions, make sure that everybody feels comfortable.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: I'm going to be playing the, I don't have any knowledge hat. So I want to ask a clarifying question as a follow up then. So as far as my actions go, then it sounds like based off of what you just said, Alita, is that I need to be present and that I need to listen.

    Alita McCalmon: Absolutely.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: And listen intently. It sounds like there is a key piece where you don't know if they need help or not. You're showing up because you have care and concern. And that's the most important thing is to show that. And I think to get them to that support.

    Alita McCalmon: Yeah. And-

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Go ahead, Alita.

    Alita McCalmon: And resist the urge to give advice, because it's also okay if you don't have all the answers. Again, sometimes people just want to feel heard. So if you don't have the solution in quotes, that's okay. Because sometimes there is no solution. What you think will work won't always work. So just listen, just listen and ask questions. Like what do you need? Because again, these youth are the experts in their own experiences. So just open your ears more than you open your mouth.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: You maybe don't have the answers, but there are professionals and those mental health professionals that are available in the schools or in your community, they have those answers, or they have the right techniques to get to those answers. I'll put on my knowledge hat now. And I think that's what we try to do when we train schools in our kind of notice, talk, act, approach. Where you notice these behaviors and or these changes in individuals' behaviors, because you have this relationship with them.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: You talk to gather information into show care and concern. And chances are, it's just going to build a relationship. Because they're not going to share anything that really is a referral yet. Because I'll tell you this, youth are testing the waters all the time when it comes to relationships with adults. They're throwing out random information to try to test you, to see if there's trust in that relationship.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: And I think that's the tricky thing about it. But I think to your points there of just being present and listening and trying to figure out what are their needs and letting them be the guide, until we figure out that there is that mental health concern going on and we have that true, all right, we need to get you to some sort of support services, whether that's mental health or it could be housing. Whatever is causing distress in that youth's life.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: If we make an assumption at the beginning of that conversation, we don't give them an opportunity to give us the full picture of what might be needed. It's so important for us all, to understand that the way in which we view the world is not the only way people view or experience the world.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: And the guide does a great job of looking at and caring for diverse populations and what that may mean that we may need to unlearn some of the old habits and relearn new ones to prevent causing harm. And really again, unintended. You don't know what you don't know to your point and you can cause harm that way. And we don't want you to go out there and cause unintended harm. So Alita, can you touch on the importance of using proper pronouns and non-judgemental language to support our LGBTQIA+ youth?

    Alita McCalmon: Words have implications, whether or not we realize that. And these youth specifically can experience discrimination and abuse that can impact their mental health, the things that they read and see in the news. That can impact their mental health. In order to make them feel safe, again, safe, heard, respected. We have to use non-judgmental language. We have to. It's necessary. Using their proper pronouns can impact them.

    Alita McCalmon: A part of this is being respectful of their identity by not assuming that everybody's heterosexual, and cis-gender. Even if you think they may be don't assume. So by speaking to and about these youth, by using the pronouns and in the case of trans youth, the name as well that they wish to be acknowledged by we're opening the door for communication. We're saying this is a safe space. It's as simple as using the name that they ask you to use.

    Alita McCalmon: If someone called me something other than Alita, I wouldn't like that. So using the words and the language and the names that these people are asking you, these youth specifically, are asking you to use with them. You're saying, I respect you as a person. I respect you as an individual. I want to make sure that I'm speaking to you the way that you like to be spoken to. And that builds a relationship. Like you were saying, it brings comfort, it opens the door. These young people may even feel safe enough to divulge their experiences to us just because we respected them enough to address them the way they wish to be addressed. And if you're unsure, if you don't know what a person's pronouns are, don't guess. It's okay to ask. Just ask what are your pronouns? Ask what is your name?

    Alita McCalmon: It's we do the same thing when we meet strangers in the street. What's your name? Take it a step further by asking what are your pronouns? How would you like to be addressed? It's so important that we just make these small changes. Because again, the goal, heard, seen, respected and loved. We show respect by giving to youth or speaking to youth the way that they like to be spoken to. Same way with us. Young people, I share my name with you. That's what I would like to be addressed as, and vice versa. It's simple respect.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: If you are knowledgeable about pronouns, what I would say is when you introduce yourself, especially in a large group or just introducing yourself, throw your pronouns out there. "Hi, I'm Christopher Chun-Seeley. My pronouns are he/him?" If you have an email signature and you know about pronouns, throw them in your email signature.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Again, if you want to create that safe space, you might not even know that you are doing that from an intention standpoint. But if that youth who hasn't divulged anything yet to anybody in their lives, they receive that email or they are in a room with you and you provide an introduction and you use those pronouns, that can shift the game for them. Oh, at least somebody kind of has a little bit of knowledge. It doesn't mean that you know everything. But you have a little bit. That you can create that safe space for that individual.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Part of that too, is we all have our different view of the world as I said, which comes with our own biases. I grew up in Wisconsin. So I have certain biases towards Chicago because of sports teams. And why should every adult kind of self screen for their own biases and preconceived notions when engaging with people who are different from them?

    Alita McCalmon: In short, our experiences as adults are not the experiences worldwide. There's no blanket way to live this life. We need to check ourselves. We need to, for the sake of the comfort of these younger individuals that we're talking to, we want to provide safe spaces for them to share what their truths are. So we can't be overbearing and saying, "Well, this never happened to me. So this couldn't have possibly happened to you." Because that's not the case. You were born in Wisconsin. I am from New York. Our experiences are completely different.

    Alita McCalmon: We have varying lived experiences. You've probably seen some things that I've never seen and vice versa. And the same thing with youth, they may be younger, but they are the experts of their own experiences. So by removing my lens of what I've seen and what I understand, I open the door for younger people that I'm talking to to share what their truths are.

    Alita McCalmon: Without any judgment, without any implications therein just, okay, tell me what your truths are. And furthermore, I want to make them feel comfortable. So another bias that we need to remove is that every young person needs to feel comfortable talking to us because that's not the case either. You may think I'm a cool mom, as they say on Mean Girls, but that doesn't mean that's the way that you are perceived or it's not an implication on you as a person if a young person doesn't feel comfortable talking to you. I would just, in that case, provide other resources. Here's someone else that you can talk to or talk to peer or something of the sort.

    Alita McCalmon: So I think it's really important for us to remove ourselves from the conversation when we're talking to young people about their mental health, because again their experiences are not ours. And just being there for them, being open, being a blank slate of a person for them to talk to is really a lot more helpful.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: And I think we could take a lot of these skills and tips that we're talking about and talking with youth and relate it to our everyday lives and our interactions with fellow adults. We talked about community members at the beginning of this and we're all a part of a community. So how are our own biases impacting the way that we're even reaching out in our own community to make these connections that might be very like beneficial to the youth in our community. It's a larger conversation. We start even thinking about how we start to engage with each other more as a community as a whole to promote more mental health and wellbeing.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: And being able to have these sometimes very difficult conversations that can be uncomfortable, that you might not want to have it with everybody. But if you have one person in that community that you feel comfortable with, whether that's a youth seeing an adult community member outside the family that can talk to. Or myself as a community member that can go and talk to somebody like you, Alita who we live in different states and we have different perspectives, but we can still have these really crucial conversations about mental health or we talk a lot about schools and kind of the things that are happening in schools as a part of our jobs.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: But there's so many more conversations that we've had as well outside of work that are probably more meaningful to us as community members that expand our worldview. Jumping back to the guide again. You touch on ableist language, and why it's so important to understand how certain phrases can be harmful for our community members with disabilities that are often forgotten about in a lot of this work.

    Alita McCalmon: Yeah. So I want to start with saying that there are disabilities that are seen and unseen. Things that you may notice someone is living with and others that you may not. And all of those things deserve the same level of respect. If someone was born in a wheelchair and someone else who is living with schizophrenia, those two people for their disabilities deserve the same level of respect. That's one, that's really important.

    Alita McCalmon: We also have to create physical and verbal safe spaces where inclusion is the goal. We want to make sure that people don't feel singled out, asking open ended questions without assumptions can help create genuine dialogues. Especially when we're talking about mental health conversation, we have to remove all ableist language, which are words or phrases that exclude people with disabilities. So like suffering from, afflicted by, victim of. All of those words have implications to them. How do we know that they're a victim of X? How do we know that they're suffering from this disability? They could just be living with it.

    Alita McCalmon: Just as you can be living with high blood pressure, you can be living with schizophrenia. It's not a negative blip on their permanent record. We have to make sure that the language that we're using does not imply anything negative about the person that we're talking about and their disability. We don't want to assume anything about the person with disabilities or their disability overall.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Thank you so much for that Alita. For myself though, you did mention, I did have a role to play in the guide. I do have a favorite part. And it's the do's and the don'ts section in the guide. Too often we tell people what to say, but we don't tell them what not to say in certain situations. Can you provide those listening in to the podcast with a couple of do's and a few don'ts.

    Alita McCalmon: Yeah, sure. This is actually one of my favorite sections as well, because it's easy to look at and say, okay, this is right. This I should steer clear of. So we're on the same page with that. So a don't would be dismissing any uneasiness or sadness by saying, "Oh, calm down. You'll be okay. It's not that big a deal."

    Alita McCalmon: That's our bias. That's our lens on their situation. And again, the guide says, we want to remove our worldview and allow the youth to speak their truths. If they are made uncomfortable by something that would not typically make us uncomfortable. That's okay. They are the expert of their experience. So another do would be listening. Listen intently, listen to understand where they're coming from and ask for clarity if you need it. That's okay. And allow them to understand that you are coming from a safe place and you are coming from a place of love and respect.

    Alita McCalmon: So you can say things like, "Why did that make you feel this way? What about this situation has upset you? Help me understand you have every right to feel these feelings." Some of my clinician, friends often say your feelings are valid, no matter what those feelings are. Because I can't tell you how to feel. I'm not you.

    Alita McCalmon: So the goal there is to listen to their feelings and allow them to express them freely without responding in a way that we think we would in that situation. Removing ourselves. So another do is one of the most important ones. When having mental health conversations with youth, have it in a setting that's comfortable for them, not for you. One on one, sitting in a private room, in the car, a place that you can be alone and speak freely without any other ears involved or any other responses or biases in the room. Comfortable settings for them asking, would you like to go to the movies or do you want to take a walk or do you want to take a drive?

    Alita McCalmon: And then talking in those places. You can do it while you are completing a physical activity. Or if you're out to eat, "Hey, let's go eat outside on this picnic table where no one else is around so that you can feel comfortable sharing the things that you have on your chest." On the don't side, try not to have a personal conversation in a space that is full of more people. So at the family table, having a conversation with a young person about their mental health, probably isn't going to be conducive to their healing or to them feeling safe enough to share their truths vulnerably.

    Alita McCalmon: Or if you're at school in a classroom, in the middle of an assembly, that's not the right time to have those conversations. Just as we, as adults, if we're at work and something is going on with us, your supervisor calling you out in front of a boardroom is probably not going to be helpful to you. So we also have to think that way. The mutual respect of this person's privacy is necessary for us to put at the forefront of these conversations.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: I think it's really, really important to emphasize with the location in which you want to start this conversation. Are you prepared to have a very serious conversation in a public setting because the emotional safety of the student. You have to be more aware of the emotional safety of the student than the student probably is, or the friend in need or whoever that might be who you're trying to reach out to. You mentioned cars. And I was like, wow, how much more got done in car therapy with the students that I used to work with when I was doing more clinical work. You put on their favorite music and they will sing a little bit and they will open up. And then all of a sudden, and it just starts to unravel a little bit more.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: And so a good song and a little car ride can do the soul and a conversation pretty good. I did want to emphasize a couple of things that you said Alita, to make sure that the listeners caught that. Your feelings are valid and no one can dictate how someone is feeling in a particular situation. We can just validate and try to understand more about why they're feeling in those situations. Listen to others, understand, and you really have to create that safe environment by producing love and respect, and showing that care and concern.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: And I think the big don't that I pulled was don't judge. That removal of judgment. Don't judge the situation. You don't know what's going on. Don't make assumptions. When you're trying to gather information, when you think something's wrong with somebody, with a student or any... Play dumb, you don't know what's going on.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: I don't know what's going on. I care about you. I love you. I don't know what you did last night. Tell me what you did. Even if you know that they came home late or that they didn't turn in their homework. Provide them the opportunity to give you the full picture. "Hey, I noticed that you came in a little bit late. Or you're waking up a little bit late this morning, or you came into class a little bit late. Just wanted to check in to see how things were going. How'd you get to school today?"

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: That's a different conversation than why you late. It's different. I know Alita that Well Beings is doing, like we talked about a lot of different work with the documentary film and some other resources. But are there other helpful resources out there or other things that you can point the listeners to that Well Beings is doing around mental health?

    Alita McCalmon: Absolutely. Well, first and foremost, I would like you all to keep an eye out in June, June 27th and June 28th, at 9:00, 8:00 Central, Hiding in Plain Sight youth mental illness premieres. It's a two part, four hour documentary that follows the journeys of more than 20 young Americans from varying backgrounds who are living with mental disorders.

    Alita McCalmon: It's executive produced by Ken Burns and co-directed by Erik Ewers and Christopher Loren Ewers. And it's fantastic. Thus far, you can check out the trailer that has dropped on Well Beings, and it's really amazing. It's about the mental health crisis among youth in America. And it'll be on PBS stations nationwide.

    Alita McCalmon: Again, that's June 27th and June 28th of this year at 9:00, 8:00 Central. It's very cool. We're also in the fall of 2022, we have Our Turn to Talk coming out, which is a digital first documentary that goes behind the scene of a podcast production, bringing together teens from various walks of life and using storytelling to share their mental health journey without fear, shame, or stigma. So super, super, super excited about that.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: The foundation has been a promotional partner in the documentary, and we've gotten to see a couple of sneak peaks of it. And we're really, really excited to see the full, four hour documentary. And we hope others will join us in watching. Alita, I cannot thank you enough again for your time and what you bring to the table to these conversations. Continually impressed every time we get together and have these talks.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: This is the first one we actually get to record and share out into the world, which is exciting. And again, just thank you so much. I really appreciate the time, but more importantly, the partnership. Because youth mental health and mental health in general is not something that one organization, one person, one state, one county, one anything is going to solve. It's going to take a joint effort through a lot of different means.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: So these true partnerships where we can come together and really put out great information that makes a difference really is meaningful to both, I think the APA Foundation as a whole, but do I think our community members who are not just living with mental illness, but who are supporting people with mental illness as well, and looking to support people. So I cannot thank you enough Alita for everything that you are going to continue to do in this space. So as we wrap, I want to give you the opportunity to give us the last words for this episode.

    Alita McCalmon: Okay, well, take care of each other, take care of yourselves so that you can take care of others, check out the mental health language guide, because we as Well Beings, we are here to support you supporting others. And also I would like to just make abundantly clear that we, Well Beings, we are not the experts on mental health, but we do know the experts and we work closely with the experts to develop resources and share those resources widely. So just we'll keep on doing the good work and hopefully a lot of people find value in this resource. So together we can save a lot of lives.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: Thank you for joining us today on Mentally Healthy Nation. For more information about the work being done at the APA Foundation, we encourage you to go to If you enjoyed what you heard today, please share this episode or any of our other episodes with a friend, family member, or colleague. And remember, take care of yourselves and take care of your communities. As we're all in this journey of wellness together.

    Christopher Chun-Seeley: The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the individual speakers in their personal capacity only, and do not necessarily represent the views of the American Psychiatric Association Foundation or the views, official policy or position of the institutions and organizations with which the speakers are affiliated. The content of this podcast is provided for general information purposes only, and does not offer medical or any other type of professional advice. If you are having a medical emergency, please contact your local emergency response number.