Mental Health Event Set For Boca Raton

BOCA RATON, FL ( — From our friends at Boca Raton Regional Hospital:

Boca Raton’s Promise – The Alliance for Youth is partnering with Boca Raton Regional Hospital on a countywide mental health initiative called Breaking the Silence. The first in a series of four “Town Hall” symposiums titled “Unseen Struggles in Boca Raton,” was held on January 22, 2012 in the Dawson Theatre in the Hospital’s Education Center. The remaining meetings will address the mental health needs and resources in the community from 1:30pm to 4:30pm on: Sunday, February 26; Sunday, March 25; and Sunday, April 29 in the Education Center at the Hospital located at 800 Meadows Road, Boca Raton.

Mental health problems affect one in every five young people at any given time according to the Department of Health & Human Services, and an estimated two-thirds of all young people with mental health problems are not getting the help they need.

Not treating mental health issues can have serious consequences. Suicide has become the third- leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Warning signs include depression, drugs, alcohol and personal losses.

“People are quiet about mental health,” said Rita Thrasher, the President and CEO of Boca Raton’s Promise. “Our children become hidden victims who cannot understand the symptoms and may become bullies or dropouts who go without help for years. One in five children will have a mental illness at some point in their lives. Our mission is to educate to end stigma, and promote early detection and treatment. This means bringing mental health struggles “out of the closet” and addressing needs in our community.”

Boca Raton’s Promise – The Alliance For Youth was established in 1999 by Retired General Colin Powell when he visited Boca Raton naming it a Community of Promise. The organization obtained nonprofit status, and is supported by grant funding from Boca Raton Regional Hospital Foundation. Volunteers have built programs in five areas including: Caring Adults, Safe Places and Structured Activities, Healthy Bodies and Healthy Minds, Effective Education and Marketable Skills and Opportunities to Serve.

 Breaking The Silence is dedicated to building Healthy Bodies and Healthy Minds by addressing the stigma that surrounds mental health and how it impacts schools, families, employers and especially the youth. Resources and materials are being provided to assist stakeholders in opening dialogue to de-sensitize and educate specific populations within communities. This is being done with the use of the DVD, Breaking The Silence, produced by FRiENDS, the service arm of Boca Raton’s Promise, with assistance from the Palm Beach County District Schools. The 22-minute film and discussion guide are available free of charge upon request to community groups, schools, clubs, agencies, and associations. Five-hundred copies will be distributed in keeping with the Palm Beach County Commission Proclamation naming 2012 the Year For Breaking The Silence.

The public is invited to attend these free educational “Town Hall” symposiums. Space is limited, so please RSVP to, or call Rita Thrasher at 561-955-5460. 

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