The SOVA Project is happy to feature this blog post written by one in our team of fantastic SOVA Ambassadors—these are young people who help create meaningful blog posts from adolescents’ perspectives.
As someone who has suffered from depression and anxiety for all of my life, I know how difficult it can be to talk about your problems without there being a stigma surrounding it. And, I know in high school, it’s super difficult to balance school work and social life and other responsibilities when also having to carry these problems with you. So, I want to do something about it.
Recently, a friend and I received a microgrant to create a program. We decided to talk about discrimination in schools. Of course, there will be a discussion on racial and gender discrimination, but we’ll also have breakout sessions on mental health discrimination to bring light to our struggles. The reason I focus on discrimination is since a young age I’ve realized how unfair education is. I’ve been bullied for being queer and Jewish. The added pressure of depression and anxiety makes things even more difficult. And these are things I can hide. Others can’t hide their race or religion.
The event is a great opportunity to talk about your problems with people who you’ll never have to see again, which I know helps with my anxiety. We need to make a change because anxiety and depression have risen among our generation. It will be nice to talk to other teenagers about the problems we face and what we can do to solve them.
I know for me, someone with high functioning anxiety and depression, my teachers see me as a normal student, but school can be a struggle. I’ve had panic attacks during tests, yet others remain completely unaware.
I work with the Jewish Healthcare Foundation to create programs about mental health awareness for teens. It’s a wonderful program and I’m so glad I can help the community.
I know this may seem daunting as I have anxiety as well, but there are so many pros. It’s completely judgment-free as we are trying to be completely open and get everyone’s opinion. Plus, you might be able to make friends who understand what goes on in your mind. But most importantly, you’ll get a free t-shirt, snacks will be provided, and it looks super good on your high school resume.
We need to have a voice to speak about ourselves and the changes we want to see in schools!
Did you ever face discrimination in school? Why do you think some high school students bully and discriminate, including about mental health? Do you think there’s been a change in high schools today since you were in high school?