Centerstone’s Prevention Services Reaches Teens with WhoYouWant2Be.org

Website Educates About Risky Behaviors and Reinforces Positive Life Skills

Nashville, Tenn. — Teenage years are notoriously turbulent, often fraught with feelings of both invincibility and vulnerability. They are years, too, when kids tend to pull away from their parents, choosing instead to confide in peers, which can leave teens misinformed and feeling lonely and confused, and lead them toward risky behaviors. With the launch of www.WhoYouWant2Be.org, Centerstone is giving teens a source to help them address common problems in a way they can relate to—without lecturing or judging them.

WhoYouWant2Be.org offers teens friendly advice on a range of topics, including setting goals and improving communication skills. It talks about dealing with peer pressure, bullies, and getting out of risky situations. The website also supplies vital information on behavioral health issues that often first become apparent during teenage years—like suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, and self mutilation—and gives crucial contact information for local crisis resources for teens seeking help.

“Teens can be very secretive about their problems,” says Susan Gillpatrick, wellness expert from Centerstone’s Management Strategies, who hosts videos on a variety of issues which are posted on the Web site. “So, it is absolutely essential to find new ways to engage teens about their everyday lives, feelings and concerns. To this end, Centerstone designed WhoYouWant2Be.org with resources for teens and adults alike. There is a section of the website that provides information for parents and educators on recognizing signs their children are experiencing difficulties and offers tips for engaging the teens in discussion and, if necessary, get help.”

Data show that parents are unaware of 90 percent of suicide attempts made by teenagers and that the vast majority of teens who attempt suicide give no warning to parents, siblings or friends.1 Furthermore, 50 percent of all serious adult psychiatric illnesses—including major depression, anxiety disorders and substance abuse—begin developing by age 14, and three fourths fully present by age 25. Centerstone’s WhoYouWant2Be.org teaches both teens and adults about symptoms of mental illness and can help them seek help sooner, before an illness escalates later on.

Centerstone is Tennessee’s largest provider of behavioral healthcare and has been delivering effective prevention and education programs for Middle Tennessee children, youth and their families through their Prevention Services division for nearly 25 years. Prevention Services programs include alcohol and drug abuse prevention, social skill enhancement, violence prevention, STD and teen pregnancy prevention, and character development programs. With the launch of www.WhoYouWant2Be.org, Centerstone extends that positive influence into the homes of teens and their families across the nation and around the world.

About Prevention Services

The programs of Prevention Services are fun, educational, and easily accessible to all participants. The primary education components are delivered in the school classroom setting and are funded, in part, by the Tennessee Department of Health, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, Tennessee Department of Education, Metropolitan Nashville Public Health Department, and the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

1 “Uncovering an Epidemic—Screening for Mental Illness in Teens,” Richard A. Friedman, MD. The New England Journal of Medicine. Dec. 28, 2006, 355:26.