In Georgia, nearly four million people are living with a behavioral health condition, and the last few years of the pandemic have only exacerbated the severity of the problem and the need for enhanced, accessible behavioral health resources. This is especially true for our youth, many of whom have or know a friend or loved one who has faced behavioral health issues. Youth ages 11-17 are more likely than any other age group to exhibit moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety and depression. With 1,451 deaths by suicide in Georgia in 2019, prior to the impact of the pandemic, and suicide as the second leading cause of death in the state for individuals 10 to 34, there is an urgent need to expand education, support, and access to behavioral health care in our community.
“The emergency rooms in our local hospitals treat youth every single day for a wide range of behavioral health crises,” said Dr. Ryan Breshears, PhD, ABPP, Board-Certified Clinical Health Psychologist and Chief Behavioral Health Officer at Wellstar Health System. “It is so important to find ways to assist teens, their parents and loved ones through difficult times and direct them to resources before they end up in the emergency department.”
That’s why Roswell Rotary, in partnership with Wellstar Foundation and Wellstar Health System’s Behavioral Health experts, has designed and launched Roswell Teen Talk, a five-episode limited series podcast featuring authentic peer-to-peer content and stories sharing resources, tips, and experiences to help navigate struggles with behavioral health in today’s challenging environment. The content in each episode helps listeners determine when to seek help and talks about how to get support – whether for themselves, for a friend or a loved one. While the experiences are shared through the voices of Roswell teens, they are guided by behavioral health experts, like Dr. Breshears and others living in the Roswell and North Fulton communities, to ensure the resources shared are accurate, relevant and actionable.
Roswell Teen Talk has the ability to change lives by providing access to behavioral health resources for teens and parents when they need it most, and in a way that makes sense to them – streamed through their phones, laptops or other devices.
“The podcast format reduces barriers and stigmas related to behavioral health,” said Terry Taylor, Immediate Past President of the Roswell Rotary Club, and a key supporter of this project. “This critical information is available privately, and it’s easily accessible right in your phone or laptop. Teens, teachers, friends, and parents can listen on their own to start getting the help they need even before they ask for it.”
All five episodes of Roswell Teen Talk are available now and are streaming for FREE on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or at roswellteentalk.podbean.com. District 6900 Rotary Clubs are encouraged to share this information with Interact Clubs, students, teachers, counselors and health professionals—literally EVERYONE.
In addition to listening to the podcast, if you or someone you know needs help, the new 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is available. For help, call or text 988 or visit 988lifeline.org.