SeaVees x The Wellness Connection Youth Council
As we launch our Mental Health Awareness Baja Slip On, we're honored to partner with Mental Wellness Center, whose mission is to who work to raise awareness and reduce stigma around mental health by promoting self-care, connection, kindness, education, prevention, and outreach amongst their peers.
The Mental Wellness Center offers a long list of services that are crucial to supporting the mental health and wellness of the community, including their The Wellness Connection Leadership Program, a high school leadership program that educates, empowers, and engages students to become mental health Upstanders. We asked active student volunteers from the Wellness Connection Leadership Council to share more about their personal mental health journeys as well as their experience and advice when it comes to raising awareness and reducing stigmas around mental health within one's own community. Read our conversation with them below.
Briefly tell us more about your mental health story and why it's important to you that you share it with others?
"Prior to joining the council I didn't know that mental health is a spectrum. Everyone has a mental health to maintain. I have been fortunate enough to not have to have dealt with any severe mental health struggles. But as I have gained knowledge about mental health, I am now able to guide those around me with seeking support for their struggles with mental illness. It is incredibly important to share your story with others in order to reduce stigma, so that they feel comfortable to express when they are struggling." -Student Volunteer, Mental Wellness Connection Youth Council
When you hear the phrase, 'mental health matters', what does it mean to you?
"Mental health matters. Mental health can oftentimes be overlooked and under-appreciated as opposed to physical health. The common reaction when someone is diagnosed with a physical illness is to surround this person with love and support. Whereas when an individual is diagnosed or expresses their struggles with a mental illness, people around them tend to succumb to stigma by invalidating or disregarding their struggles. This is why it is important to remember that maintaining your mental health is just as important as maintaining your physical health. Taking steps to improve your mental health, such as practicing self-care and expressing your emotions with people you trust, are strategies everyone should implement into their day to lives." -Student Volunteer, Mental Wellness Connection Youth Council
How do you define self-care? How do you prioritize self-care in your day-to-day?
"I identify self-care as any action you do for yourself that as healthy, full of love, and positivity. Personally I love falling asleep to podcast so I found some great night meditation video that I fall asleep to. And my favorite part about it is I get to get to bed I’m such a calming way. I also make sure I get up early in the morning so I get enjoy some coffee or tea in bed in the morning." -Student Volunteer, Mental Wellness Connection Youth Council
What are your hopes and dreams for the future of mental health?
"In the future, I would like to see a reduction in the amount of stigma surrounding mental health because stigma creates a major barrier for those who are struggling with their mental health to reach out and get help. In addition, I would also like to see a mental health curriculum implemented in schools across all grade levels. Education will not only reduce stigma, but also make students more aware about the resources available to them and how they can assist their friends who may be struggling." -Student Volunteer, Mental Wellness Connection Youth Council
"Acceptance and a willingness to understand those we love and ourselves." -Student Volunteer, Mental Wellness Connection Youth Council
What advice would you give to others who hope to make a positive impact in their community as it relates to advocating for and addressing mental health?
"Start by impacting one person and then go from there. Maybe check in with someone you haven't talked to in a while or do self care with a friend. Small things add up, especially if you do them with friends." -Student Volunteer, Mental Wellness Connection Youth Council
What is something transformational you have learned about mental health since joining the Mental Wellness Center's Wellness Connection Program? What's your favorite part about being a part of the Council?
"I understood the power of my voice and that my story could make impacts for my community and the state. I think everyone downplays their strengths, but the WCC council helped me realize that I have them and that I can use them to my advantage. I love the community aspect and being surrounded by people who want change and are willing to work for it as much and as hard as I do." -Student Volunteer, Mental Wellness Connection Youth Council