David Lawrence Center, Collier County’s only comprehensive, not-for-profit mental health and addiction recovery treatment center serving children, adults and families, invites middle and high school students in Collier County to let their voices be heard by participating in its #StandUp Multimedia Contest. Through the contest, students are encouraged to be part of the conversation about how mental health—including common challenges such as depression, anxiety, bullying, and substance use—has impacted their lives directly or indirectly. Through short essay, poem, song, and video submissions, youth are invited to express, in their own words, what suggestions they have to reduce stigma and increase understanding of mental health and/or substance use in their school and community. Submissions should convey how students can #StandUp for themselves, their friends, and/or others in their community. “With 50 percent of all lifetime cases of mental illness beginning by age 14, the time is now to intervene to help our youth grow healthy minds, develop effective coping strategies and create meaningful change in how we discuss and address mental health,” said Scott Burgess, David Lawrence Center President and CEO. “This contest is a means to let our children be part of those healthy conversations and let their voices be heard on this important, life-saving topic.” #StandUp Movement Suicide, homicide, and deaths induced by drugs and alcohol are now the leading causes of death among children and young adults ages 15 to 24. David Lawrence Center launched the #StandUp movement in 2018 to bring attention to the issues of mental and emotional health and improve early intervention, avoid unnecessary suffering, and prevent headline-making tragedies in Southwest Florida. The #StandUp campaign is a way to engage children, parents, and neighbors in supporting one another through mental health and substance use challenges so that more people at risk can access the care they need before a crisis. #StandUp is also about education, raising awareness, developing collaborations, and increasing screening and follow-up care. Contest Kick Off DLC is partnering with Collier County Public Schools, local pediatrician offices and other community partners to promote the #StandUp Multimedia Contest. The contest will officially launch at the Let’s Talk Mental Health Family Night at the Museum on Oct. 16 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples (15080 Livingston Road). Middle school students and their parents are invited for a special night of learning and sharing about the importance of children’s mental health. The event will include free mental health screenings for students, interactive games and activities, a raffle, and refreshments. The event is being hosted by the Leadership Collier Foundation’s Growing Associates in Naples (GAIN) Class of 2019 in partnership with David Lawrence Center, National Alliance on Mental Illness, and Kids’ Minds Matters. Proceeds will benefit David Lawrence Center. Enter and Win A first and second place cash prize for the #StandUp Multimedia Contest will be awarded to winners in both the middle and high school categories. Submissions are due by Jan. 30, 2020. To learn more about the submission guidelines for each category and how to submit a contest entry, visit www.StandUpDLC.org.