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David Baxter

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New site for teens with mental illness
Sunday, 2 September 2007


Out of the Silence, a new web-based non-profit organization that aims to offer a safe venue in which young people with mental health problems can express their emotions through artwork, prose, poetry, photography, and graphic art, will be launched on September 9 to coincide with National Suicide Prevention Week. The initiative and web site was created by 16 year-old Caitlin Carey of New Jersey to assist teens dealing with mental health problems but who feel they have no place to express their thoughts and feelings.

"It's no secret that thousands of teens today suffer in silence, not knowing where they can voice their concerns and experiences with mental illness," said Caitlin Carey, founder of the project. "Young people tend to rely on their peers for support in everyday situations. However, the stigma attached to mental illness makes it difficult to reach out to friends; so many teenagers who are trying to cope with an illness such as depression or anxiety feel isolated."

Carey, who has struggled with obsessive-compulsive disorder for nearly a decade, added, "I felt like I was the only girl in the world who experienced these horrible emotions and isolation. No one should have to feel the way I did."

Carey's parents, Tom and Tina Carey, first noticed their daughter's obsessive-compulsive behavior when she was about 6. After a series of strep throat infections, she became germ-phobic and started washing her hands repeatedly.

Carey's hope is that Out of the Silence will provide a community of advocates for teenagers dealing with mental illness. She plans to eventually hold empowering events such as sponsored writing and art contests.

The site URL is http://stepoutofthesilence.org/.
 

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