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Bright Harbor Healthcare

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Mental Health Awareness Community Awards

By Rob Austin LCSW & Sarah

Ocean Academy had the pleasure of participating in Ocean County’s Mental Health Awareness program held at the Toms River branch of the Ocean County Library.

This special program is dedicated to highlight the many activities our community has cultivated in an effort to reduce stigma and increase awareness surrounding mental illness.

Mental health providers throughout the county received recognition for their hard work and dedication in reducing the stigma associated with a mental health diagnosis.  Also,  “The Mental Health Players” put on a performance to demonstrate stigma that is often experienced by individuals with mental illness and the importance of friendship and understanding.

What was especially close to Ocean Academy’s heart was our students participating in the 7th annual “The Voice” youth creative expression contest.  One of our students had the distinct honor of winning first place in the contest with her poem “ Depression: Give us Acceptance”. We are very proud of Sarah, it was a pleasure to watch her accept her award and to read her poem at the ceremony. Sarah’s poem is on display in the hallway of Ocean Academy for all to read, learn from and break the stigma.  A special shout out to our three honorable mentions Beth, Dylan and Rachel.

Depression: Give us acceptance

Depression: What can I say?

It is a struggle to live with

When it’s fought in my head

  Hurting and crying

Are just two signs of this terror

Feeling alone

Is really what’s the matter

A daily thought of mine

“No one really understands”

But what if

I had the help?

It would be

Very heartfelt

Now I ask myself

“What can you do to help?”

Well it is really quite simple

And would give me a dimple

Just listen and understand

Learn some sympathy of course

Never judge or give up

That’s what I will do

Why don’t you give a helping hand?

So I have the confidence to stand

Love and acceptance

I will always appreciate that presence

People with depression

Wish to not be alone

All we really want

Is a heart to be heard