The Importance of Mental Health is Emphasized by Supporting Smiles
Poor mental health is often looked down upon, however, it is extremely important to address it in order to live a healthy, balanced life. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five American experience mental health issues which translates to more than 40 million people a year. Luckily, there are many organizations who help support those who experience mental health issues, such as Supporting Smiles.
Supporting Smiles is a student-led organization focused on educating and spreading awareness for mental health and mental illnesses and the stigma around therapy. The founder of the organization, Kaitlyn Vail, is a 15-year-old from Ohio. Kaitlyn hopes to educate and bring awareness to mental health and mental abuse through her organization, Supporting Smiles.
Kaitlyn has an inspiring mental abuse story: ever since she was 12-years-old, she has gone through mental abuse from her father. It started with yelling but soon came to name-calling, grabbing, and gaslighting. Kaitlyn was diagnosed with severe anxiety in 2018. She previously has been mentally and physically hurt, but Kaitlyn is now thriving. She had the courage to stand up to him after years of taking his abuse and feeling alone. With abuse, mental health issues come with it. Kaitlyn has been able to support herself, and now she is trying to help others who dealt with same experiences. After opening up about her story, she realized how impactful she could be to the victims of abuse. In order to accomplish this, she created her organization Supporting Smiles. "I started Supporting Smiles to share my story, educate on mental health, and spread awareness for mental health and mental abuse," Kaitlyn said.
Although the organization is fairly new (started on July 10th, 2020), it quickly has gained much popularity on social media platforms. Supporting Smiles recently reached over 1,000 followers on Instagram. They are currently recruiting others to join their team, and they even made a TikTok to promote their initiative.
The organization's future plans are to induct new members, as well as start new projects such as creating an app, a newsletter, and possibly a website and/or podcast. Kaitlyn's goal is take allow the members of the Supporting Smiles to create and lead their own projects, with the support of the organization.
Click here to view their Instagram.