This is what adults and teens need to stop saying when discussing mental health

It’s not a stigma, it’s a great thing.

“I see it as normal.”

Martha Goddard, D.C. social worker and a community specialist for the University of North Carolina’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute.

Martha Goddard knows those kinds of words can be off-putting, especially to teens and young adults. So Goddard and other alcohol and drug experts this month launched ‘Mental Health Week of Action’ in North Carolina to try to raise awareness and promote that word. The week, which will culminate June 15 with an appreciation dinner, is a joint effort with the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Goddard is quick to point out, however, that promoting mental health isn’t a long-term solution to prevent substance abuse. Nor does it address the root causes of substance abuse in the first place. But she said promoting mental health, even to those who aren’t at risk for substance abuse, has practical benefits:

Empowerment for both those at risk and those who are less at risk to practice mental health.

Making it less stigmatizing.

Convening supporters and advocates around common themes and better understanding mental health.

Reporter Liz Essley talked to Goddard about the week and what changes a community can make that could help promote mental health and well-being:

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