Live Laugh Love



"50% of all mental health illnesses begin by age 14 and 75% by age 24."



Live, Laugh, Love: Educating Youth About Mental Health


Early childhood years are the most important time to prevent mental health illnesses and promote healthy behavior. Some kids experience strong feelings of stress, confusion, self-doubt, and pressure to succeed at home and at school. Some kids feel left out and are targeted and bullied, or are the bullies themselves. They may develop depression and contemplate suicide or turn to harmful substances and engage in other types of risk-taking behaviors as the solution to their problems. While childhood suicide is very uncommon, deaths from suicide still occur and are the second leading cause of death among high school students in Kent County.


Live Laugh Love is an interactive 4-class series that uses multimedia as a tool to help students, parents, and teachers recognize the symptoms of depression and the warning signs of suicide in themselves, a friend or family member. The curriculum is also designed to help young people who may be personally affected by mental illness to get past the stigma and seek treatment.


Live Laugh Love lesson plans include:


  • Introduction to mental health

  • The stigma associated with mental illness

  • How to recognize signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety

  • How to recognize the warning signs of suicide

  • What to do when you notice a change in your mental health

  • What resources are available in your community

  • Risk and protective factors

  • be nice. Action Plan - notice, invite, challenge, empower



A Student's Perspective


"My father lost his life to suicide in the fall of 2003. I was 8 years old and I was confused and hurt, but mostly sad. I became severely depressed for five long years. My grades were slipping and every day all I thought about was the loss I felt. Then, at the end of my freshman year in high school, two representatives came to my school to teach my health class about mental illness. The program is called Live Laugh Love: Educating Youth About Mental Health. After the second lesson, which was on depression, I became overwhelmed with emotion. Christy Buck pulled me aside and asked me if I was okay. After talking with her, she gave me several options for counseling, but I knew I wasn’t ready for that. So, together, we found a way for me to begin to get over this traumatic event in my past. She asked me to participate and volunteer at the Foundation. I accepted and now I have people who support me as I support them. I never felt this great since before the fall of 2003. I know that my mental health will only get better from here and I am so thankful that God brought the program to me." 

Anonymously yours, 

A student and friend of the Mental Health Foundation.



For more information on how you can participate or get the program in your (or your child's) school, please e-mail Kandice at

Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan

349 S Division Ave., Grand Rapids, MI 49503  |  616-389-8601