What Happens When Motivated People Get Together for a Massive Initiative For Youth Mental Health?

Massive Initiative for Youth Mental Health

Many of you are familiar with my passion for youth mental health. Much of my writing stems from our experiences with my daughter Maddie who tragically died by suicide in April 2015. Admittedly, we were grateful for the professional support we received; however, ultimately, the healthcare system failed us, and we lost her seven years ago this month. I believe that the fundamental problem lies in the disconnect between education and the availability of mental health resources. Something needs to be done within our education system to better prepare these kids for the emotional journey they will embark upon, called life. I’d like to introduce How Are You Feeling, an exciting educational initiative for youth mental health.

Enter Janice Berger and Bob Calvert

Janice Berger is a pioneer in Deep Emotional Processing Therapy™. She is a retired Registered Psychotherapist and an author, mentor, and public speaker. She has spent over 45 years helping people work through the pain of past and present trauma and childhood abuse, neglect and deprivation. Her passion is still to help people understand how their emotional system is meant to work and how much their emotional well-being depends on what they do with their feelings.

Bob is a systems engineer who has successfully started and sold many businesses in the last 30 years. Because of the benefits of his own emotional work, he became convinced that there is a way to help young people avoid the many heartbreaking tragedies in their teen years. Bob wondered why so many simple emotional concepts are not taught to children and teenagers in schools. He became passionate about doing something to change this situation.

The Genesis of How Are You Feeling

In January 2016, Janice and Bob embarked upon a journey to develop a multi-part course to teach emotional awareness to youth and adolescents. They quickly realized that utilizing familiar and popular television and movie scenes was a fantastic vehicle to help depict different emotional states that we all endure through different phases of our life. The How Are You Feeling program allows kids and parents to relate with characters, many of whom we have all grown up and better empathize with their situations. It helps to normalize that we all have bad days, experience different emotions, endure many painful life experiences, and no one is immune to its emotional clutches.

How Are You Feeling helps us discover, embrace and understand what we will encounter on this crazy rollercoaster called life. The finished product is a series of 24 videos, each approximately 30 minutes in length and walks us through why we feel what we feel. It is brilliant!

Why I Got Involved with How Are You Feeling?

A friend of mine knew my passion for mental illness, particularly youth mental health. He wanted to connect me to his brother, who told me a bit about what he was trying to accomplish and thought we could benefit from a meeting.

I was introduced to Bob Calvert in October 2021.

We quickly understood why we both had a passion for youth mental health. It stemmed from our backstories and a genuine interest in trying to change the system and make a difference. Bob and Janice had created this fantastic tool. We just needed to figure out a way to get the word out and build some momentum. Initially, we kicked around several ideas and had some great discussions, but we stalled quite frankly. We needed some individuals, aside from ourselves, who equally shared our passion.

The Power of Community

The one thing you discover about writing and sharing is that you become very aware of the audience your writing speaks to. I’ve been contacted by hundreds of parents who have experienced challenges with their kids’ or their own mental health. The pandemic has served to only exacerbate this reality. A very passionate and motivated group of individuals want to affect change. I only needed to ask for help.

I approached my Facebook community for volunteers. The response for volunteers was overwhelming. We had to close it off at twenty individuals. The purpose of the exercise; watch and give constructive criticism about the How Are You Feeling program. We had our first of three scheduled Zoom calls last week. The enthusiasm, energy and feedback were incredible.

The How Are You Feeling Feedback?

Bob and Janice’s initial target audience was directed at eleven to fourteen-year-olds. The overwhelming majority of the group felt the program spoke to a much larger demographic, both younger and older kids and the vast majority of parents.

The group consists of predominately parents. There are teachers, coaches, business professionals, business owners and leaders. All of which share a particular passion for youth mental health. Some have experienced mental health challenges with their own kids. Still, most acknowledge that this growing epidemic will not go away without a change in our teaching methods and the dialogue surrounding mental health.

The content was relatable, engaging and relevant. Most of the group felt they could have significantly benefited from this content both as youth and parents. It was deliberate and concise. It was entertaining and emotionally engaging. In general, everyone could benefit from this innovative platform.

The Action Plan 

Everyone agreed that this needs to get into the hands of our educators. Ideally, this needs to become part of our students’ curriculum. It needs to be introduced early and throughout the emotional development years of our kids. We are currently introducing it through pilot programs in a handful of schools. We are looking at expanding the rollout to a few other schools whose proactive leadership place a high value on student mental wellness.

If you would like to learn more or offer assistance in launching this incredible initiative, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly. You can email me at chris@thefinishlinegroup.com and include in the subject line How Are You Feeling.

Conclusion

I’m incredibly grateful for what Bob and Janice have created and get to participate in some small way. This was designed to fill a massive void in our education system today. All the early indicators are pointing towards its success.

I often wonder if this may have made a difference in what we had encountered with Maddie and the other youth that we have lost to mental illness. There isn’t anything that we can do for all the kids that are no longer with us, but we can build an incredible legacy for all the kids that follow in their wake.

Chris’ Bio

Through the bankruptcy of his first business, a strong balance sheet means nothing unless you can get the money out of your business and into your hands personally, tax efficiently, and creditor protected. Chris helps and coaches business owners to avoid a similar fate as he suffered in his first business.

Through several clever strategies, he illustrates how these little-known vehicles can get money out of your business efficiently, build your corporate brand and create a legacy through charitable means to help make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.

Also, he has seen the impact that mental health can have upon success within your business and your life and how the two are on a constant collision course. When Chris became aware that Entrepreneurs struggled with their mental health at more than twice the rate of average adults, he realized he wasn’t alone and made it his ambition to understand why and do something to help. His business, The Finish Line Group, aims to help support the entrepreneur’s financial, philanthropic, and emotional needs.

Chris’ Why Statement remains, “To openly communicate the lessons learned from my past so that others will thrive in their lives, minimize their setbacks and leave a positive and lasting legacy.”