Organization holds local meeting to talk about mental illness - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

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Organization holds local meeting to talk about mental illness

WACO, TX (KXXV) - The Speak Your Mind Texas organization brought teenagers and adults from the Waco area together to talk about teenage mental illness and substance abuse.

The town-hall style meeting is one of 16 the organization is having at locations across the state. According to organizers, it's important to start the conversation with teens because 75 percent of all mental illnesses are diagnosed between the ages of 14 and 24.

"We were all teenagers, we all had feelings we didn't really share them because we thought we'd get in trouble or people would think we're weird," said Christine Reeves, a spokesperson for the Heart of Texas Advisory Council. "This is about taking all that away. If you can get something early enough you can do things to help make that person better."

It's unclear if a new local program will come from the meeting, but organization leaders said the important thing was starting the conversation at a young age to lessen the stigma that comes with discussion mental illnesses.

Mental illnesses affect more than 75 million Americans each year.

Those in attendance heard from state officials and experts and watch testimonials from Texas teenagers struggling with suicide and chemical dependence. Experts said the two are often linked through coping and illness perpetuation.
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