‘Normal is Overrated’ family event to be held June 8

Student speakers include Saylor Davis and Andrea Gijon

The free community event is dedicated to breaking down barriers to promote teen mental health

“Normal is Overrated” is planned June 8 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Florida SouthWestern State College, 8099 College Parkway, Fort Myers. The free community event is designed to open doors to acceptance and inclusivity for Southwest Florida middle and high school students to talk about mental health.

An interactive and informative event created by students, “Normal is Overrated” shines a light on the mental and behavioral health struggles teens and young people face. This year’s program will include:

  • Inspiring stories from local students with first-hand experience
  • Art therapy and interpretative dance
  • Opportunities to connect with mental health services and resources available in Southwest Florida.

“While this event is designed to support youth and young adults, it’s also a great opportunity for family and friends to support youth on their mental and behavioral health journey, and for community partners and advocates to help teens find the support that they need,” said Golisano Children’s Hospital Child Advocacy Program Manager Vanessa Reyes Ruiz. “This event creates the space for open and supportive conversations about mental health. We also hope to explore and deepen understanding of acceptance and compassion while raising awareness.”

Danesha Simmons, an art therapy speaker, will discuss and lead a Heart Mapping activity, helping participants explore their feelings, passions and vulnerabilities as well as express themselves when words are too hard or unavailable.

Student speakers include Saylor Davis and Andrea Gijon, who will talk about their mental health journeys and what has helped them overcome challenges and maintain their mental health. Davis is a high school sophomore who plans to be a neurologist and is an advocate for mental health. Gijon is a senior in high school who hopes to get a degree in political science and international business.

The Presenting Sponsor is Kids’ Minds Matter. Additional sponsors include Five Guys and Jason’s Deli.

Sponsorships are still available for this important community event. For information and registration, visit KidsMindsMatter.com/NIO.