What do you think? Leave a respectful comment.

Why children struggling with mental health say stigma can be deadly

Editor's Note: If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. 

View the full documentary here.

A new documentary produced by our colleagues at Milwaukee PBS in collaboration with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel follows four young people from Wisconsin who are navigating mental health challenges. They’ve endured assault, bullying, incarceration and discrimination, and in some cases considered suicide. Yet through it all, these children in crisis have survived.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Finally tonight, a preview of a documentary on children in crisis produced by our colleagues at Milwaukee PBS, in collaboration with The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

    The documentary follows four young people from Wisconsin navigating mental health challenges. They have endured assault, bullying, incarceration, and discrimination, in some cases contemplating suicide.

    Through it all, they have survived.

  • Reyna Saldana:

    I was born addicted to heroin. My mom had left me with her boyfriend, and that, when I was only 3, that I was sexually assaulted.

  • Alex Hart-Upendo:

    I wrote a goodbye note when I was 7 years old. I was homeless for about three years of my life, and it was sad. I was being bullied in school as well.

  • Barrett Poetker:

    I heard the whispers behind me. It was hard to walk down the hallways alone. I did it all day every day. I live with depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder.

  • T.J. Esser:

    As a transgender person, I have experienced anxiety because society has tried to make me someone I'm not. I always felt like a blue crayon wrapped in red paper.

  • Reyna Saldana:

    Stigma is killing us.

  • Alex Hart-Upendo:

    We're here to tell our stories.

  • T.J. Esser:

    We're here to end the silence around mental health.

  • Barrett Poetker:

    We're here to fight for you.

  • Reyna Saldana:

    We're here…

  • Alex Hart-Upendo:

    … to tell you…

  • Barrett Poetker:

    … that you're not alone.

  • T.J. Esser:

    On a 2017 state survey, about one in 50 students identify as transgender, and it was more common among younger students.

  • Alex Hart-Upendo:

    In 2017, 1,772 children under the age of 18 died by suicide in our country.

  • Reyna Saldana:

    I hope that we take different approaches towards kids that struggle with mental illness and depression and take a better look at what they're going through.

  • Barrett Poetker:

    As hard as it feels to think that you're alone in all of this, you're not alone, and there's always somebody else that feels the same way as you. And you might not know that person, but I can tell you that you're not alone in any of your mental health struggles.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    You can find the entire documentary, "You're Not Alone," online at MilwaukeePBS.org.

    And if you or anyone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK, or text the word Home to 741741 from your mobile phone.

Listen to this Segment

The Latest