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Press Releases

The Child Mind Institute’s #MyYoungerSelf Campaign to End the Stigma Associated with Mental Health and Learning Disorders Reaches Millions

June 1, 2017

Inaugural Child Mind Institute campaign features Emma Stone, Lena Dunham, Michael Phelps, Tommy Hilfiger and 40 more celebrities

New York, NY, June 1, 2017 – The Child Mind Institute’s inaugural #MyYoungerSelf campaign reached millions during the month of May through powerful personal videos from 44 celebrities who share messages about their struggles growing up with mental health and learning disorders. #MyYoungerSelf campaign videos and special content are available at Speakupforkids.org.

In its first year, the #MyYoungerSelf campaign attracted notable participants from the worlds of entertainment, sports, fashion, media, politics and advocacy, including: Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, Lindsey Stirling, Todd Fisher, Brandon Marshall, Colton Haynes, Keke Palmer, Rachel Bloom, Michael Phelps, Patrick J. Kennedy, Lena Dunham, Wayne Brady, Dan Harris, Elizabeth Vargas, Howie Mandel, Tommy Hilfiger, Henry Winkler, Ty Pennington and Jay Leno.

Videos were posted daily on the Child Mind Institute’s social media channels, attracting over 3 million views, and re-shared to millions more by the participants. The movement swept the cultural landscape garnering coverage on The Today Show, Good Morning America, People, Time, Upworthy and Rolling Stone. One defining moment occurred half way through the month when Reese Witherspoon appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to speak about the campaign and won a $10,000 donation for the organization in the process.  

“What makes #MyYoungerSelf transformative is that young people and families are listening to the celebrity stories and using this campaign as a source of courage and solidarity,” says Child Mind Institute President Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz. “They’re telling us how much these messages mean to them at the Child Mind Institute and across social media.”

One mom writes on Facebook, “I love Emma Stone so much for being transparent and I love even more that as my daughter goes through some of her toughest times of anxiety, Emma is making these videos that speak straight to her (& my) heart.” Another visitor to the Child Mind Institute Facebook page says, “I truly love this whole campaign. As a mental health therapist for children, this is so, so, so important!!”

The #MyYoungerSelf campaign is part of Speak Up for Kids, the Child Mind Institute’s annual initiative during National Mental Health Awareness month to raise public consciousness and counter the stigma for the 1 in 5 children struggling with mental health and learning disorders. Of the 74.5 million children in the United States, an estimated 17.1 million have or have had a mental health disorder — more than the number of children with cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined. By speaking out these celebrities are helping to end prejudices and show children struggling that there is a brighter future ahead.

Impactful celebrity messages include:
Emma Stone

  • “It’s so normal,” she said. “Everyone experiences a version of anxiety or worry in their lives. And maybe we go through it in a different or more intense way for longer periods of time, but there’s nothing wrong with you.  To be a sensitive person that cares a lot, that takes things in in a deep way, is actually part of what makes you amazing.”

Rachel Bloom

  • “Once you’re open about it, you start to realize a lot of people have this, and a lot of people have a lot of the same exact fears and ways that their mind spirals that you do.”

Michael Phelps

  • “I saw kids who, we were all in the same class, and the teachers treated them differently than they would treat me.  I had a teacher tell me that I would never amount to anything and I would never be successful.”

Lena Dunham

  • “I feel so lucky that my parents were people who were comfortable with therapy with medication and conversations about anxiety. I would tell my younger self that there’s no shame in asking a teacher for help, telling a friend that you’re uncomfortable and that it’s just the same as falling down and scraping your knee.”

Jesse Eisenberg

  • “It’s not the worst thing in the world to have those feelings, even though it might feel like it is the worst thing in the world.  Having anxiety might be indicative of having other beneficial characteristics.”

Todd Fisher on Carrie Fisher

  • “Without the help of her doctors and her family and medication, I don’t think we would have seen what we were seeing.  To any child who’s struggling today with mental health or a learning disorder, take a look at Carrie. Use her as your role model. Do not be afraid to ask for help. You’re not alone.”

Colton Haynes

  • “You’re not alone.  I think that’s really something that I’ve learned in my recovery process with anxiety. There’s millions of people out there who suffer from crippling anxiety whether it be from fainting or from sweating or so may different ailments from anxiety. There’s so many people who have it and suffer from it so you’re not alone, and it gets so much better once you’re able to learn the tools to cope with it.”

Mark Ruffalo

  • “One of the things that was always very difficult for me was grade school. Feeling like I was strange and unique and freakish. I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere.”

Keke Palmer

  • “Give yourself some time. Be patient with yourself and you’ll learn how to cope with these different things. As long as you’re able to acknowledge them, as long as you’re able to consciously be aware of them, you can move past them.”

Lindsey Stirling

  • “This all came about because I was incredibly insecure, and I wanted to be accepted.  Numbers do not create happiness.  Relationships do. And it’s not about how many likes you have or how many friends you have. It’s more about the quality of those relationships.”

Patrick Kennedy

  • “When I was 13, I didn’t know what I was suffering with.  I didn’t know how to connect with those others that were my own age and going through the same thing as a way of relieving the sense of isolation I was going through,”

 Corporate Partners

Bloomingdale’s, the Child Mind Institute’s founding corporate partner, is a key supporter of the campaign. As part of the partnership, Bloomingdale’s has allowed shoppers the opportunity to participate in the campaign by offering online gift cards with 10% of their value (available in amounts between $10 and $1,000) to benefit the Child Mind Institute. In addition, Bloomingdale’s has supported the Child Mind Institute’s efforts to increase visibility through an email campaign linking viewers back to SpeakUpForKids.org, information on Bloomingdales.com and highly visible ads in the New York Times promoting the campaign.

Hunter has been a founding partner of the Speak Up for Kids campaign since its inception in 2010. As part of its support this year, Hunter will match all donations generated through email outreach during the month of May, doubling the impact of financial support for this public awareness campaign. Hunter has also supported outreach efforts to increase visibility through email and social media channels.

For press and media content downloads, please visit http://speakupforkids.org/press

About the Child Mind Institute
The Child Mind Institute is an independent, national nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders. Our teams work every day to deliver the highest standards of care, advance the science of the developing brain, and empower parents, professionals and policymakers to support children when and where they need it most. Together with our supporters, we’re helping children reach their full potential in school and in life. We share all of our resources freely and do not accept any funding from the pharmaceutical industry. Learn more at childmind.org.

About Bloomingdale’s
Bloomingdale’s is America’s only nationwide, full-line, upscale department store and a division of Macy’s, Inc. It was founded in 1872 and currently operates 38 Bloomingdale’s stores and 17 Bloomingdale’s, The Outlet Stores, in California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia. In addition, Bloomingdale’s has an international presence with a location in Dubai. Be sure to follow @bloomingdales on social media, become a Loyallist, and for more information, or to shop any time, visit www.bloomingdales.com.

About Hunter
Founded in 1856, Hunter is a progressive British heritage brand renowned for its iconic Original boot and holds two Royal Warrants of Appointment to HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. The brand has a rich history of innovation and continues to be worn on the festival fields, the city streets, as well as challenging outdoor landscapes.