iGen21 February 2017 - Page 33

Hi, my name is Alessandra Naccarato I am 16 years old and I live in the GTA. I enjoy being outdoors and I love the summer time when I can be outside all day. I enjoy the sun, water sports and horseback riding.

I was introduced to the Wear your Label brand, through my school and I think it is truly amazing what they are doing. Wear Your Label is trying to raise awareness about mental illness.

Mental illness affects a lot of people today whether they are living with a mental illness or have a family member who has a mental illness. I think that people need to start being more understanding, if you get sick people bring you cards and presents to cheer you up. If you’re depressed people don’t understand how to act and they shy away from you, leaving you feeling sadder and vulnerable. That needs to change!

I would like to tell you how mental illness is affecting our family.

I live with my 3 sisters and my parents. I have two adopted sisters; my adopted sister Izzy has Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

FASD is a preventable mental illness, but many people are not aware of the effects of alcohol on their unborn child. Alcohol is more damaging to the fetus than crack cocaine or heroine. I think that we could help end the stigma around this mental disorder that she is affected by and educate people so there are less children born with this illness.

Izzy and more than 3,000 babies a year are born with FASD in Canada. These babies, then grow into adults that must live with very little support and people who don’t understand what they're dealing with. FASD is a very challenging illness to live with and no one can really see the effects from the outside. My sister looks like a “functioning” 7 year old to people who meet her. When she is having a “melt down” she just looks like a bratty kid that isn’t getting her way. When really she is affected by a life altering illness, we are all still learning to deal with. The number of comments that people have made about her illness are saddening. Our whole family must deal with the hurt that comes along with people’s ignorance. I feel that there is a large group of parents, grandparents, teens, adults and children that are also affected by this and would love your help. I know that people’s mind’s needs to change on how they view mental illness!

I need your support in doing this! We need to get FASD talked about more and help people dealing with mental illness. I am trying to become a brand ambassador for Wear Your Label because as you can see I strongly stand by their message of ending the stigma around mental illness.

I think I can help get Wear Your label exposer and I have some ideas that I would like to share with the brand, please show your support by following me @alessandra_naccarato_, so that if we put our voices together we can make a difference.

ALESSANDRA

Naccarato

"Wear Your

Label"