DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla., Oct. 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Students today face unprecedented mental health struggles. From bullying to depression and anxiety, one in five students struggles with mental health. Furthermore, 11% of students in Broward County, FL, have attempted suicide one or more times in the last 12 months, compared to the national average of 9%. That's why national non-profit Be Strong is dedicated to promoting mental health and resilience through peer-to-peer support and programming.
This month, Be Strong launched a new campaign in Broward County to identify, recruit, train and equip one or more Be Strong student representatives in every county middle school and high school to seek out and support students in crisis. The teens are trained and equipped with the Be Strong App providing 24/7 crisis counselors, suicide lifeline, learning resources and local support including food, housing, escaping violence, counseling and more. These students are often the bridge for helping peers in crisis get help.
To help fund the campaign, Be Strong is currently seeking $155,000+ in donations to support the Broward County Student Representatives Campaign. The resources will be used to develop, train and provide ongoing support for student leaders who can act as resources for their peers who may be struggling with bullying, hopelessness, anxiety, thoughts of suicide or other critical mental health issues.
Support is Vital as Teens Navigate Changing Environments
When local business leader Mikey Dobin learned that his daughter was struggling with depression at the beginning of the pandemic, he wasn't sure where to turn — but he knew he needed to get her the right resources and help. After meeting a Be Strong board member, Dobin was able to navigate the resources his daughter needed.
"I never imagined my daughter would be going through such a tough time, and in the beginning, I had no idea she was struggling," said Dobin. "When I was a kid, mental health was something we just didn't talk about — but I see that changing with the next generation through Be Strong's programs."
Stories like Dobin's inspire Be Strong to continue growing and empowering students to overcome their hardest days. The organization currently has over 4,000 Student State Representatives across all 50 states. They continue to recruit new leaders in hopes of reaching 5,000 Student Representatives by the end of 2021, with Broward County as a focal point of the campaign. Be Strong provides schools, teachers and students with free curriculum focused on the most common mental health issues and social struggles facing kids and teens today.
Be Strong Sparks Important Conversations for Change
Our schools need help. "A child in trouble is going to go to another child," said Denise Reed, Assistant Principal at Pompano Beach High School and Be Strong advocate. "They'll go tell someone else that they feel comfortable with rather than an adult or authority figure — that's the basis of this whole program. We're putting the resources and tools in the hands of student representatives, so they know how to help a friend or classmate when they need it most."
In addition to partnering with school leadership, Be Strong depends on the support of donors and partners. As CEO of Valley Forge Fabrics in Fort Lauderdale, Mikey Dobin is passionate about bringing awareness and resources to the non-profit.
"Be Strong is a 501(c)(3) charity, so their only interest is in the interest of kids," Dobin said. "They're in it to help students learn and get better, and they depend on our community support to do that."
Fellow Ft. Lauderdale business leader Rob Korhnarens agrees. His company Advanced Roofing, Inc. provides much-needed support and visibility to Be Strong. "Serving as a sponsor for Be Strong is incredibly rewarding and it's a great way to make the most of your investment in a community," Korhnarens said. "Be Strong can save lives and turn lives around with training these leaders in schools. It's a low-cost way to make a real difference in the community. And as a sponsor, it's a chance to invest in the future leaders of our community."
"With the ratio of staff to students in schools these days, it's not enough to have well-trained staff," said Dr. Francine Baugh, Principal at Millennium 6-12 Collegiate Academy and Board Member of Be Strong. "Be Strong has a different perspective on how to help our students by empowering ambassadors to connect to other students and give them the resources they need when they're struggling through a tough situation."
"It's very heavy to keep struggles in your heart," said Dobin. "When kids feel an open and safe place, they're immediately better off. With Be Strong, we're teaching everyone that opening up isn't a weakness — it's a sign of strength."
To learn more about Be Strong's free programs, email email@example.com. To donate to the Be Strong Student Representative campaign, visit URL or mail a check to Be Strong at 692b S. Military Trail, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.
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SOURCE Be Strong