• AIR: Attitudes in Reverse
     "Start the Conversation, Reverse an Attitude, Save a Life"
    AIR is a non-profit, positive national campaign to start the conversation about good mental health, suicide prevention, and anti-bullying. The concept was developed by Katelyn Baker, a Plainsboro, NJ teen, whose brother died in May 2009, as result of an ongoing mental illness. The AIR plan is to start conversations, one on one or in groups, to raise awareness, increase empathy, encourage early intervention, and eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness. 
    1 in 5 persons suffer from some sort of mental health issue: this startling number includes our youth. Most symptoms start early, but can go unrecognized or are chalked up to childhood/teenage angst. this can delay early intervention, draw criticism from society, and sometimes result in devastating consequences. 
    The onset of mental illness often occurs at a critical point in young lives as brains are continuing to grow. Brains reach their full maturity around the age of 25, with the impulse control portion of the brain being the last to develop. Any imbalance of brain chemistry can bring about mental illness of varying degrees. 
    Many are afraid or embarrassed to seek help. A lack of understanding of mental illness causes a fear of being ridiculed or criticized. Many do not seek help and may self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. Some lose all hope for recovery. 
    AIR sponsors and hosts a variety of events, including awareness programs in schools facilitated by trained teens and adults who have been personally affected by mental illness in some way, and the training of therapy dogs that are certified to participate in these events. This is a way of making children and teens feel more comfortable, which is very important, especially when discussing issues of this nature.
    For more information about AIR, visit: