A Michigan teen is on a mission to educate his peers about mental health

Black History Month: History Makers Today
Posted at 12:19 PM, Feb 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 18:33:13-05

(WXYZ) — Now, more than ever, we are understanding how important it is to not only focus on our physical health but also our mental health.

And there are some incredible young people leading that charge; change makers in the halls of our high schools.

Our Andrea Isom met one of them, who is using his voice to help others use theirs.

Frank Blackman Jr., 17, is a senior at U of D Jesuit High School and Academy. He is the future of Black History and Frank is forging his path right now.

“My goal overall is just to empower kids to be better for themselves. Knowing that I am a factor, that my voice is being used for something positive, it’s something that I think more young people are doing and should be doing in their school communities. I’m trying to help more kids know about mental health and trying to educate," says Frank.

After losing multiple peers to suicide, Frank set out on a mission to help students understand what they’re going through and give them ways to cope.

He's also helping educate parents, teachers and counselors on what kids today might be dealing with at school, work, or home; almost anything can be a factor on your mental health.

Frank initiated a mental health awareness organization/suicide prevention program with nine of his peers last year. "The overall goal and mission of it is to combat the stigma of mental health and to raise awareness of what mental health actually is. With 'Be Nice,' we hope to do that. So, I’m just using my voice and my peers are using their voices to be initiators and leaders in this field. I’m trying to preach to everybody, it’s OK not to be OK," says Frank.

Because of "Be Nice," Frank says he feels good that there is a program where students can feel comfortable sharing what they’re going through or discover ways to help someone else they know is suffering, too.

“We’ve made a big difference, in just the overall culture of our school. I will continue to preach my message of positive mental health," says Frank.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, help is available. Speak with someone today at 1-800-273-8255.