NASHVILLE, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug 9, 2018--I.C. HOPE®, ambassador for Tennessee’s Erasing the Stigma program, is ready to help students kick off a new school year and to help children and adolescents become their own mental health advocates.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

I.C. HOPE®, ambassador for Tennessee’s Erasing the Stigma program, visits more than 20,000 students annually to address mental health wellness. (Photo: Business Wire)

Annually, I.C. HOPE® visits more than 20,000 students in Middle and West Tennessee schools to promote mental health wellness. The age appropriate curricula cover topics such as ADHD, anxiety, bipolar disorder, body image and eating disorders, bullying, risky behaviors and substance abuse, mental health and wellness, stigma and mental health, stress and depression, suicide prevention, worry, grief, and test anxiety.

“The goal of the Erasing the Stigma Program is to educate children and youth about their own mental health and teach them how to identify their feelings by giving them skills to handle their feelings in positive and safe ways. Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee also provides information and resources on how and where to seek help for mental health problems,” said Desiree’ Kelly, DrPH, Erasing the Stigma Coordinator.

At least one in five Tennesseans suffers from a mental illness. In Tennessee, statistics show that mental illness begins around age 14 and is often undiagnosed until the mid-20s.

“Through evidence-based research, we know that if people have 4-6 Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) before age 18, they will most likely be diagnosed with a mental illness. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Tennesseans aged 10-19, which is why educating our students is so critical to developing healthy young people,” Dr. Kelly said.

Thanks to support from partner organizations, the Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services, KidCentral Tennessee, Nashville Predators Foundation, and the Assisi Foundation, all presentations are offered free of charge. Each presentation lasts 40-55 minutes. For more information regarding what the program offers or to schedule a presentation for your school, please email Dr. Kelly at ( ).

For more than 72 years, Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee has been serving all 95 Tennessee counties with resources that cover suicide prevention, school-based curricula, and aging and Alzheimer’s programs. To learn more about MHAMT or to take a free mental health screening, visit

View source version on


Jackie Cavnar, COO, 615-419-1492




Copyright Business Wire 2018.

PUB: 08/09/2018 02:52 PM/DISC: 08/09/2018 02:52 PM