Out of the Silence was started in April 2007 as a youth-based initiative meant to aid in reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness. It is a non-profit organization based out of New Jersey that has gained both national and international support. Out of the Silence is unique in that it is targeted specifically towards middle school, high school, and college-aged youth. It is a media-based initiative designed to provide an outlet for creative expression of emotions through artwork and writing. It also fosters a sense of community that is fundamental to the success of it audience. The ultimate goal of Out of the Silence is to assist youth and young adults in learning to deal with their emotions effectively and productively.
In the future, through your participation, Out of the Silence will hopefully provide a nucleus to a community of advocates for youths with mental illness. While many networks are available for adults with mental illness, few resources are easily accessible for young sufferers. These young people, due to the media and their school environments, are especially vulnerable to the negative stigma surrounding such disorders. Out of the Silence aims to ‘break the silence’ surrounding mental health issues and prove that, just as there is no shame in having a physical illness, there is no shame in having a chemical imbalance in the brain.
As the organization grows, personal submissions will then be made available to the public through printed media as well as through this website. Through these personal expressions, other struggling peers will gain reassurance that they are not alone in their battle for ‘normalcy.’ In addition, others without such issues will gain insight into true-life youth mental illness, which is often dismissed as cries for attention or ploys for sympathy by the media.