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Tools for teens and young adults navigating mental health

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This week, Sen. Tina Smith spoke publicly for the first time about living with depression. Her initial experience of it came when she was a teenager.

Smith's story highlights the growing need for more mental health support in schools.

One in five teenagers and young adults  lives with a mental health condition, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Half develop the condition by age 14 and three-fourths by age 24. 

In talking openly, Smith is using her experience to push for more federal support on mental health programs for young people. Smith wants Congress to approve $1 billion for school districts to partner with local organizations that could deliver mental health services directly to schools.

This hour, host Angela Davis spoke with a psychologist and a youth educator to lend some advice for parents and offer tools for students on how to navigate their mental health.

Liz Babkin is a parent and youth educator for NAMI Minnesota and coordinator for the group's Ending the Silence campaign. Babkin travels to different high schools, giving a presentation that helps students, teachers, parents and staff learn about the warning signs of mental health conditions.

Babkin also shared her own experience of living with anxiety, what her day-to-day life was like before seeking treatment and what it was like transitioning from high school to college.

Dr. Lisa Herman Lovelace is a clinical psychologist and founder of Synergy eTherapy, an online mental health therapy service. She is also involved with Allina Health's Change to Chill program, an online resource that provides teens with techniques to manage stress in a healthy way.

This reporting is part of Call To Mind, MPR | APM's initiative to foster new conversations about mental health.