Local organization looks to lift self-esteem in teen girls, shine light on mental health

By Laura Harris

On August 10, 2023

As students head back to school, mental health is front of mind more than ever before.

A recent study from the National Alliance of Mental Illness estimates 50% of all lifetime mental illness starts by 14 years old.

Angela Johnson, the founder of The Naked Truth Redeemed organization, said it’s statistics like that driving her to do her part to focus on the mental health of specifically, teen girls.

“It’s like the naked truth is like you are raw and transparent. You’re being vulnerable and you are discussing a lot of things that women don’t like to discuss,” Johnson said. “It’s about encouraging our kids and letting them know that they are seen and that they are valued. We can’t take that for granted. They have been put on this world for a specific assignment and they are not competing with anyone but themselves,” Johnson said.

She recently hosted the Check In Wellness Expo in Dallas.

“It was a transformative event focused on empowering teen girls and women in all aspects of their lives. This unique expo aims to foster personal growth and well-being through a holistic approach to mental, physical, and spiritual health,” Johnson said.

There were several mental health professionals hosting panel discussions about mental health, how to reach out for help, and simply how to start the conversation. Alicia Jonson was one of those professionals.

“Mental health is one of those things that can be passed down from generation to generation so identifying healing the adult woman is what is important. If you have a grandmother, who then passed down bad habits to her daughter and now she has a daughter, it just keeps going in that cycle,” Johnson said.

Hannah Parks was also there lending her expertise as a licensed professional counselor.

“For me, it’s really important for these young girls to feel like they can actually even have a conversation. They have to get off social media and get into using their words. It’s really important for adults to facilitate open communication so that if something does happen, a teen actually feels like this is a safe place to come and tell them about my life,” Parks said. “I am just seeing so many young people coming to me telling me they have these feelings of hopelessness. Just hopeless about the future and they can’t get past that. That’s where we have to show them there is a better way. Or we show them that there is help available,” Parks said.

Each said their hope is by continuing to offer access to resources through free events like the expo, they will keep mental health, especially with young women, top of mind.

“The Naked Truth Redeemed was founded in 2020, as a means of expression for women to feel safe and talk about their issues. [It’s a place] for women to know that they are not alone in their issues. We don’t suffer alone, in fact, a lot of women share similar trauma, heartache, and pain,” Johnson said.

This piece was republished from NBC DFW News.

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