LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield is working to change the stigma surrounding mental disorders, creating more resources for Arkansans.

With every step and every embrace, Arkansans are coming together to make sure that no one has to walk through life alone, through mental health classes put on by Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

Mental health class instructor Amanda Kuttenkuler spoke on the importance of the courses.

“People are hurting, Arkansans are hurting,” Kuttenkuler said.

In these classes, participants learn how to identify, intervene and find care for someone dealing with mental health struggles.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, 17 percent of youth experience a mental health disorder, a

Kuttenkuler said she has been an educator all her life.

“There was an article from the Journal of Higher Education that said one in four college freshman had contemplated suicide,” Kuttenkuler said. “People don’t realize how much our students are suffering.”

Kuttenkuler said she also lost her mom and brother 10 and a half months apart.

“It made me realize that if I was struggling, I knew lots of other people were struggling as well,” Kuttenkuler said.

After taking the course herself, she said she decided to become and instructor.

“If I can empower someone else to help someone else, to help someone else, to help someone else, that’s a win,” Kuttenkuler said.

Just like Amanda, Jane Hurley has her own experiences. She said her son has a mental disability and has lost a coworker to suicide.

Going through the course, she said just helps her further her abilities to make change.

“Observing and then taking some kind of action, even if it’s to you small, it can be very big to someone else,” Hurley said.

For more information about the courses, visit ArkansasBlueCross.com.