SAN ANTONIO – Since schools returned to all students in the classroom in August, the Clarity Child Guidance Center said it is seeing more children in need of mental health care. The nonprofit provides care for children ages 3 to 17 who need help with mental health conditions ranging from ADHD to schizophrenia to suicide. In an effort to help those providing services to children, The Center is hosting a summit in November.
“Claritycon2021 Reimagined” is a summit being held to focus on children’s mental health and how people can help. It will provide attendees an opportunity to hear from those with experiences of going through a mental health crisis.
Among the presenters is author Mark Henrick. Henrick’s new memoir, “So-Called Normal: A Memoir of Family, Depression and Resilience,” takes a look at his life as a teenager and his struggles with depression and other mental issues that led to him attempting suicide multiple times.
“I’d wanted to write for a long time about everything that happened,” Henrick said, “not only in between those two points of that first attempt and the last because there were more than a half a dozen different hospitalizations in between them, but also all the experiences that led up to that to begin with that I didn’t just become suicidal out of nowhere. And then my recovery after didn’t just happen overnight, either.”
Henrick said he was 12 years old when he first expressed that he was suicidal even though he had struggled with it for years. Henrick said children often don’t know how to express their feelings and many times adults dismiss them.
“One of the things that I learned later on in my struggle as I became a teenager, that it wasn’t helpful for people to think of me as only sick or broken or brain disordered or disease or anything like that, because that kind of puts you in a small silo, in a bucket that it’s really difficult to access the humanity of others when everybody thinks that you’re just a broken, different, you know, defective person,” Henrick said. “Instead, what ended up helping me was when people were able to see the whole me, all of the factors that contributed to my struggle, not just a broken brain, but rather a kid who was having a hard time who was vulnerable anyway, who experienced a lot of trauma.”
Henrick first shared his experience in a Ted talk and it went viral. Through that, he has been able to share his experience and become a mental health advocate.
“If you want to help somebody with a mental illness, look in the mirror, learn about what you need as a human, Henrick said. “And it turns out that’s what everybody needs, whether you have a mental illness or not, and that’s how you can help kids in particular who are really struggling.”
“Claritycon2021: Reimagined” is scheduled for November 5th. For more information and to register for the event, visit the Clarity Child Guidance Center.