Kennedy Krieger Creates ‘Chill Out, Mind,’ an Online Campaign to Move Mental Health Conversations Beyond Awareness

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BALTIMORE, May 22, 2024Kennedy Krieger Institute recently launched “Chill Out, Mind: A Teenager’s Guide to Mental Health,” an animated video series for teenagers that seeks to remove the stigma around depression, anxiety and other mental health concerns, as well as provide actionable steps for adolescents who want to seek mental health care.

The series features real-life stories that help teenagers understand how their minds work, why they feel the way they do, and most importantly, how to navigate mental health concerns. The first episode stars Chris Mason-Hale, a community advocate with the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities, who shares his experiences with depression after a football injury in high school caused him to be paralyzed.

“Discussing the barriers between people and the support they need is why I wanted to be part of this series,” Mason-Hale said. “We all know how frustrating it can be to feel something but not be able to communicate it to the people who care about you the most. Our hope is that this series will encourage kids to have these conversations with their friends, parents and other trusted people in their lives.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic increased awareness around the mental health struggles that adolescents face, members of the Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) at Kennedy Krieger decided they wanted to raise money for a project that provided needed information to teenagers with questions about depression, anxiety and other topics. Throughout the year, the group offers events, volunteer experiences and other opportunities to support the Institute, and for this project, WIN members used their fall fundraiser, Barrels & Bonfires, to raise money.

Dr. Carmen López-Arvizu, director of Kennedy Krieger’s outpatient psychiatric services, served as the series consultant and is featured in the first episode along with Mason-Hale. Future episodes will address anxiety, among other topics, and the series’ landing page includes mental health resources, a glossary of terms, a list of common myths and why they are incorrect, and suggested readings for parents.

For Dr. López-Arvizu, the timing for “Chill Out, Mind” was right: “From 2009 to 2019, we saw an increase in young people reporting continued feelings of sadness,” she said. “This is not related to the pandemic—this is a 10-year trend. Now we must move beyond awareness to education and with the goal to address the most common barrier to care: stigma.”

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About Kennedy Krieger Institute: 
Kennedy Krieger Institute, an internationally known nonprofit organization located in the greater Baltimore-Washington, D.C., region, transforms the lives of more than 27,000 individuals a year through inpatient and outpatient medical, behavioral health and wellness therapies; home and community services; school-based programs; training and education for professionals; and advocacy. Kennedy Krieger provides a wide range of services for children, adolescents and adults with diseases, disorders and injuries that impact the nervous system, ranging from mild to severe. The Institute is home to a team of investigators who contribute to the understanding of how disorders develop while at the same time pioneering new interventions and methods of early diagnosis, prevention and treatment. Visit for more information about Kennedy Krieger.   

Jessica Gregg
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Carson Rehfield
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