80 | 16 Strong: Normalizing Conversations About Mental Health & Mental Illness | with Samantha Wettje & Susan Solar


In an ideal world, we’re asleep for eight hours every night, leaving 16 waking hours in the day. What does it take to get through those 16 hours in a successful, strong way? The answer isn’t the same for everyone, and many kids don’t know this is a question they should even be asking themselves.

Our collective unwillingness to have conversations around things like mental health, familial mental illness, and addiction is really holding a lot of us back from unfettered enjoyment of those waking hours — especially in the year we’ve had — but our guests are trying to change that.

Samantha Wettje is co-founder of the 16 Strong Project and an adolescent mental wellbeing advocate. She created the 16 Strong in response to her experience as a young person growing up around familial mental health illness, mental illness, and addiction, and her work focuses on empowering resilience to adverse childhood experiences through educational workshops, online resources, and community outreach. Joining Samantha is Susan Solar, a licensed clinical social worker who has worked in many settings for over 35 years and is currently working as a counselor for high school students. She shares her own experiences with facilitating these conversations, as well as what it was like to bring Samantha and 16 Strong into her school.

We unbox:

  • The isolation of feeling like nobody else is going through what you’re going through
  • How do we help all of the participants in our ecosystem manage and cope?
  • What the 16 Strong program looks like in a classroom
  • Being aware of how our language can unintentionally harm others
  • Why it’s so important that people like Samantha are willing to share their stories with kids
  • Bringing these conversations into your classroom or home

 

Resources: