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Millions of Americans suffer from or are affected by mental illness. Washington State in particular struggles. According to a study from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Washington state ranks #2 in the nation for the highest percentage of adults coping with mental health disorders.
Mental health disorders don't just affect adults. The Washington State Department of Health reports that nearly 30% of high school students have experienced symptoms of depression. The statistic doesn't include symptoms or consideration of any other mental health disorders students could be dealing with such as anxiety, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Several sources site the situation in Washington State as a mental health crisis, made worse by the lack of education and resources for treatment.
In 2010 Deborah Binion's life changed forever. Just days after his 17th birthday, her son Jordan took his own life as a direct result of a mental illness. Deborah's loss turned into a passion for mental health education. Realizing that our public education system provides minimal education regarding mental illness (largely touching on depression and anxiety while leaving out others like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia), Deborah worked to develop an educational program and began contacting schools in her community. She is now the co-founder and executive director of the Jordan Binion Project.
She started with a single PowerPoint presentation in a single school.
In 2016 the presentations provided through the Jordan Binion Project were taken to 65 schools!
Presentations focus on:
The Jordan Binion Project's presentation takes approximately 55 minutes and is offered absolutely free of charge. Any public or private high school or community youth group can participate. They believe it is extremely important to educate young adults on the subject of mental health, as most mental illnesses begin to develop between the ages of 15 and 24. Research indicates that early intervention and treatment are paramount to successful recovery for individuals that have mental illness.
All of these presentations showed them one thing. A single presentation wasn't enough. The Project cast a broader net and found curriculum developed by Canadian doctor Stan Kutcher. His program gave the Project some of the leverage it needed to further their cause to reduce the stigma around mental illness through education.
They have expanded their program to include training sessions for teachers. Their first session had 30 spots to fill. They worried they wouldn't be able to fill it. To their surprise, they filled the class and had a significant wait-list for another... and another... and another... teachers and schools are hungry for the information they are providing.
Deborah, and the Jordan Binion Project, have most recently partnered with CHI Franciscan Health and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to bring mental health education to as many schools as possible. They have also teamed up with another mental health foundation to work with Washington legislators and bring mental health education to every school in the state.
The Jordan Binion Project is a registered non-profit organization. All monetary donations given directly to the Jordan Binion Project are tax deductible.
Recently, the Jordan Binion Project was featured in an article by People magazine. Check out the video and article!