NEW YORK CITY — Chiara de Blasio, Mayor Bill de Blasio's daughter, is the face of a new mental health campaign that allows teens from 10 city high schools to receive information via text message about dealing with depression.
Teens can text "NYC Teen" to 65173 and receive confidential information about emotional help for feelings of sadness or despair, Chiara de Blasio and her mother, First Lady Chirlane McCray, announced at Millennium Brooklyn High School Tuesday.
“Many New York teenagers aren’t yet ready to speak their pain aloud, but they might be ready to text someone who is able to help them,” said Chiara de Blasio. “I know from personal experience that reaching out when you’re in pain can be the turning point— the first step on the road to recovery."
Chiara de Blasio has spoken about her own substance abuse issues with marijuana and alcohol and battles with depression.
"I've had depression, like clinical depression, for my entire adolescence," Chiara de Blasio said in a Dec. 2013 video. "That's been something that I've always dealt with or not known how to deal with."
"I kept using this false rationality," she said. "I would say 'I won't drink" and I would smoke weed and then say 'I'm not going to smoke weed' and then I would drink... bartering for an equally bad outcome."
Chiara de Blasio says she was finally able to get help from a psychotherapist.
But studies show that teens often don't reach out for help with their emotional issues.
A 2013 survey found that 27 percent of New York City public high school students said they had felt symptoms of depression every day for at least two weeks in a row. Only 18 percent of those students actually received help from a counselor.
“Our goal is to meet teens where they are — and where they are is on their phones,” said McCray who added that the initiative will provide "a safe, convenient and confidential way to get in touch with trained crisis counselors when they’re feeling overwhelmed."
The advertisement for the program features a picture of Chiara de Blasio holding a phone. "Got Stress? Text it Out!" reads a headline above her signature.
“It’s important that young people know that they should reach out for help with emotional issues,” said First Deputy Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot.