© 2019 by Meddling Kids Movement 

Mental Health

"We are not only fighting for our health, but for our friends and future children." - Amanda Southworth

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MKM Mental Health Team member Nova Rivers spoke with Emily Kehler, a 19-year-old mental health activist from Long Island, NY. They chatted about eating disorder recovery, Instagram, and rallying others.


Nova: What are specific issues in the world specifically regarding mental health that you feel strongly about?


Emily: I am a huge advocate for mental health and eating disorder recovery. I have had an eating disorder for the majority of my life, and last year it brought me to the brink of death. I wasn't able to live life to the fullest because of my obsession with food and my worsening depression. I decided to get help. I was tired of living life halfway. Today I am able to live life to the fullest as I am in recovery. It is still hard, but I feel like I have my life back. I hope by sharing my story, I inspire others to get help and start living life to the fullest.


Nova: What actions have you taken that have helped others who may be struggling with mental illness?


Emily: I use my recovery instagram @lotus.in.the.sun as a blog and document my journey in recovery from an eating disorder among other mental illnesses. In doing this, I hope to inspire anyone suffering from a mental illness to get help and also to create a community in which they know that they are not alone.


Nova: Are there any current activism projects or plans for the future you would like to talk about?


Emily: In the future, I hope to continue inspiring others through my Instagram and also rally with others through walks and support groups. I went to a rally in NYC this year and was the top individual fundraiser. I had no idea I could make such a difference in a community.


Nova: What advice would you give to other young people who want to speak out and change the world?


Emily: The biggest piece of advice I could give to anyone who is trying to make their voice heard in this world is that you should never give up. Whether you accumulate a community of 1 person or 1000 people, keep going and making your voice heard. It is truly a ripple effect and you will touch so many more people that you know. 




I spoke with Carl Schirmer, a 16-year-old mental health activist from Massachusetts. We talked about therapy, being mentally ill, and toxic masculinity. 


Isabel: What made you want to speak out for mental health awareness?


Carl: I want to speak out for mental health awareness because of my personal experience with it. I've struggled with depression, anxiety, type 2 bipolar disorder, and PTSD. I've seen a lot of misconceptions come from people my age and adults so I wanted to become known as an educator, not someone who's just "mentally ill.”


Isabel: As a young person, especially a young male, what does mental health mean to you?


Carl: Mental health means a lot to me. I attend a therapeutic/collaborative school and I get to see a lot of other kids who struggle with their own mental health issues. I have been in therapy since I was in 3rd grade and hospitals/programs have been involved since I was in 6th grade. As a young male who suffers from it, it's tough, because I can't control when I get upset. If a child sees me, a 6 foot, large male walking down the street with tears streaming down my face, they might think about it differently than if they saw a female doing the same. I, personally, don't see men cry a lot where I'm from, so I feel like people just aren't used to seeing men be so open about it.


Isabel: What would you like to see change in the way our society discusses youth with mental illness?


Carl: I think a lot of people are quick to judge and that's what I would like to see change. Nobody knows what anyone is dealing with. Someone could be anxious about something like crossing the street for a million reasons, but some people seem to think only one specific reason is valid. It isn't fair. I just wish people were more considerate.


Isabel: Why do you think it is possible for our generation to end toxic masculinity and the stigma of mental illness in general?


Carl: I think it is possible to end toxic masculinity and the stigma of mental illness because so many more people are becoming brave enough to share their experiences, share how they’re feeling, and try new things. People who have stories are beginning to tell them and more people are starting to hear them. People are beginning to realize that mental illness takes place in every culture and that these feelings can come upon anybody. I think the people with the problems could be the ones to solve them.


Isabel: I love that. Are there any current activism projects you are working on that you would like to talk about or plans for the future?


Carl: I am trying to incorporate mental health with my art because it’s been a coping skill for me for as long as I can remember.


Isabel: What advice would you give to other young people who want to speak out and change the world?


Carl: Don’t try to please anybody. If you need to tell someone how you’re feeling, you should tell them honestly, tell them what you have to say. Don’t speak to please, speak to inform. 




I spoke with Autumn Cain, a 19-year-old mental health activist from Kalamazoo, MI. We talked about autism, education, and helping women on the spectrum.


Isabel: What got you involved with mental health activism and how have you seen the impact of it in your life?


Autumn: I have personally struggled with my mental health for as long as I can remember. I have dealt with eating disorders and anxiety since I was 9 years old and an array of other mental health issues ever since. There came a point when I was about 14 when I could no longer hide or suppress any of my difficulties, and I began voicing my concerns to my doctor. I quickly realized that many doctors are ill-equipped to fully aid mental health issues. When I was able to receive a proper diagnosis years later I was finally able to feel whole. I understood that because of my autism and ADHD, I was not a failure for not being “normal”. I tell you this because I didn’t wake up one day with a sudden interest in mental health activism - it’s been a fight I’ve fought personally my entire life. The difference now as I am fully finding my mental health path is that I want to help others find their own path as well. I want to help others who may not have their doctors or family members advocating for them - I want to be their voice and to show them that their perspective matters. I want to help others find their diagnoses and treatment plans so that they can live life in its entirety - because that’s what we all want in the end and it’s what we all deserve.


Isabel: What does mental health advocacy mean to you as a young person growing up today?


Autumn: It means prioritizing understanding and taking care of ourselves before rushing into any sort of hustle in life. Past generations have been born into a world where they were told to suppress their emotions and mental health difficulties and rush into a 9 to 5 job. As a young person today, I am advocating for our generation and generations to come to take the time to understand themselves, because in doing so we can understand what we should be doing in life. We can take our understanding of ourselves and use that to create the most good in the world. We can take care of ourselves to ensure that any impact we create later in life is sustainable and makes us as happy as we can be. We can create a better, more welcoming, and happier world. In participating in mental health advocacy as a young person, I am striving to create a world in which we no longer go about our day invalidating our own mental health struggles and the struggles of others, and instead use our own personal experiences and understanding of ourselves to create the most good and joy for generations to come.


Isabel: That is great. You do a lot of work with other projects relating to climate activism or LGBTQIA+ projects. Why do you think mental health is intersectional with every other political issue?


Autumn: The simple answer is that we’re all in this together. Nothing we care about will ever get done if we don’t stand united together. No matter where we come from or what issue matters most to us, our goals and priorities intersect, and the only way to make true progress is to unite and demand change with one voice. Minority groups and the LGBTQIA+ community already have a clear understanding of what it feels like to not belong to a dominant culture. We know what it feels like to be underrepresented in certain circles. One of our most basic psychological needs is belonging. When we feel like we do not belong to groups, we experience feelings of invisibility, unworthiness, loneliness, and low self-esteem.The importance of intersectionality is that it recognizes that people do not always only belong to a single group. Many groups suffer traumas due to discrimination and prejudice, sometimes on a daily basis. The field of mental health is now cognizant of the fact that the experiences of minority groups can differ greatly from those of the dominant culture. All in all, mental health is incredibly intersectional with everything in politics. 


Isabel: What should we be doing when it comes to how we treat youth who struggle with mental illnesses in America?


Autumn: We should first change how mental health is “taught” in school. We need to have difficult discussions with students from a relatively early age, making sure that they understand that the mental health issues they will likely face are valid and that there are options for them to seek help. Throughout my time in school, I went through my day, every single day, feeling incredibly isolated and assuming that I was the only one facing similar issues when in fact almost everyone was facing similar mental health difficulties. One structurally sound step that I would be ecstatic about would be providing mental health courses in high schools - or at a bare minimum including mental health lessons in health courses. We need to educate students on mental health issues because education from an earlier age will be the first step to fully destigmatizing mental health illness for youth and others alike.


Isabel: Are there any activism projects you are working on now or plans for the future you would like to talk about?


Autumn: The main project I will be launching within the next month is a nonprofit organization called Autisma. Autisma is an organization to help women on the spectrum find a welcoming community and receive equal representation, diagnosis, and overall support. Women with autism, especially those of color, often go incredibly undiagnosed. This is primarily because the only representation we see of autism in everything from the media to research tends to be targeted towards white, teenage boys, leaving many girls and women undiagnosed and underrepresented. From sharing the stories of women on the spectrum to providing scholarships, it is our goal to redefine the face of autism. I plan to continue running and expanding Autisma so that we can not only create the greatest impact nationally but also globally. I also hope to give another TEDTalk, this time talking at length about women with autism and how we need to change our understanding of the face of autism so that women, gender-nonconforming individuals, and people of color with autism are not disproportionately affected.


Isabel: What advice would you give to other young people who want to speak out and change the world?


Autumn: No matter how young, how quiet, how smart, or how rich you are, you can always make a difference. It’s quite a cliche to word it as such, but it cliches are true for a reason. There is always something you can bring to the table no matter the situation you are in or the background you come from. In fact, the background you come from is exactly what you should be utilizing to make a positive change. It’s the things that make you different, the things that make you stand out the most, that can help you create the most good in the world. 




I spoke with Emily Weinberg, a 17-year-old mental health activist from Lexington, MA. We chatted about borderline personality disorder, Sophrosyne Mental Health, and the Mental Health March.


Isabel: As a young person, how has mental health most affected you?


Emily: When I was in my freshman year of high school, my depression started to take over my life. I was overwhelmed with feelings of sadness and hopelessness and my parents and I decided that it would be best for me to stay inpatient at a psychiatric hospital. Since then, I have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and struggled with self-harm, but I have discovered that what makes me feel better is speaking out, sharing my experiences, and showing kindness to those around me.


Isabel: What are your hopes for the future when it comes to the de-stigmatization of mental illnesses?


Emily: I hope that in the future, people are able to talk openly about their mental health without fear of being called crazy or psycho or anything along those lines. I dream that suicides will no longer be one of the leading causes of death, and that mental illnesses will be obstacles in the road, but not stop signs. Everyone has their own story and I hope that in the future we can look past each other’s diagnoses and really get to know the person.


Isabel: Tell me a little bit about Sophrosyne Mental Health. What is that organization all about and what inspired you to create it?


Emily: I created Sophrosyne Mental Health because of my curiosity to understand what was going on in my brain. I couldn’t always understand my actions, but I could understand the science and neurochemistry. I wanted to create a resource for other teens to be able to understand how their brains work and maybe feel as though they could understand themselves a little more. I wanted to create a safe place where people could discover different coping mechanisms, study skills that might work for them, and be able to connect with other teens about issues they might face when it comes to stigma.


Isabel: It looks like there is going to be a Mental Health March in Boston. Why do you think it’s important to show up and be on the frontlines for something like mental health awareness?


Emily: There is a Mental Health March in Boston on June 16th that I’m planning with my friend, Nora. I think it’s important to show up and speak out so that other people don’t feel as alone. In my experience, the more you talk about these things, the more comfortable other people feel telling you about their struggles, and therefore the more people you can help. In a way, I’m proud of my mental illnesses, because they make me the strong person I am today. I am more empathetic, brave, and kind because of my recovery.


Isabel: Are there any current activism projects or plans for the future that you would like to talk about?


Emily: I’m also currently working on a website called “Millennial Monarch” where people can find resources for ways they can get involved in fighting different social injustices, such as the refugee crisis, ethical work, climate change, and gun violence.


Isabel: What advice would you give to other young people who want to speak out and change the world?


Emily: I want to let other young people who want to join in a movement know that while it can seem overwhelming to get started, you should take that leap. It can be hard work, but it is worth it. Use a skill you have, such as art or music or organizing or writing and create something that helps push the movement even further.




I chatted with Katie Montgomery, a 15 year-old mental health activist from Kettering, OH. We talked about awareness, a mental health platform led by teens, and working locally.


Isabel: As a young person, why is mental health awareness important for you?


Katie: Mental health awareness is incredibly important to me because mental health is everything. Everyone, even people without mental illness, experience mental health everyday. Emotions and struggles are a part of everyone's journey and mental wellbeing plays a big role in life. Awareness brings necessary conversation. Awareness can make others feel as if it's okay to be open. No one should feel alone and it's so unfortunate that many do. As someone who is heavily affected with mental illness, I just want to comfort everyone struggling.


Isabel: How do you believe that our society can de-stigmatize mental health issues?


Katie: Society can de-stigmatize mental health issues by caring. Whether it's providing mental health resources or having normalized open discussions.


Isabel: Talk a little about Silencing the Stigma. What has it been like working with them and what have you learned so far?


Katie: Silencing The Stigma is a upcoming mental health awareness platform! The website is launching soon and it will be a collaborative zone for teenagers anywhere to share their mental health related stories/art. STS is ran by teenagers around the world. I love working with them! I'm in awe of everyone’s activism, stories, and kindness. They've taught me more about vulnerability, which I'm grateful for.


Isabel: You are a mental health advocate but you are also a strong advocate for gun reform and LGBT rights in the US. What’s it like working in many different movements?


Katie: It's important to care about many different topics. I'm vocal about gun reform and the LGBTQ community because there is so much work (relating to these movements) to be done within this world. Progressivism is needed and others should know about ongoing injustices.


Isabel: Are there any current activism projects you are working on that you wanna shout out or plans for the future?


Katie: I currently am writing for Defiant Magazine, a new political and social justice magazine ran by teens. Other than that, I am working locally. As for plans for the future, I hope to start some type of club involving justice (maybe climate reform or gun control) and to also run social service projects. Then during the presidential election, I am most certainly going to be politically active.


Isabel: I’m asking everybody this: What advice do you have for young people who want to speak out and change the world?

Katie: Young people have so much to say and we now have the platform of social media. Post about topics dear to you. Stay informed and read about what you are interested in. Information is more accessible than ever, and it's honestly a good feeling to know about politics and the world. Research local activism activities and be involved with groups/events that help the community. Putting forth an effort is always worth it. You got this.




I had a great conversation with Lauren Cohen, a 15 year-old mental health activist from Gainesville, FL. We talked about the universality of mental health, young people being empowered, and using social media for good.


Isabel: As a young person, what does mental health mean to you?


Lauren: Mental health is a universal issue. It’s something that can affect any of us, whether it be ourselves, friends, family or simply a colleague. Mental health does not discriminate. It affects us all: young, old, female, male, non-binary, rich, poor, black, brown, white, religious, non religious, disabled and abled. However, the stigma surrounding this issue has become a widespread epidemic. We are losing a generation of youth who do not believe that their voices are worth hearing, that their pain will never cease. This is why I decided to take action.


Isabel: That is a perfect segway. Tell me about Silencing the Stigma. What inspired you to create that organization and how impactful has it been so far?


Lauren: For far too long, have we lived in silence, fearful of the culture that still surrounds mental illness. We must share our narratives so that this global epidemic surrounding mental health no longer resides and festers in the darkness. We must bring light to one of the most serious challenges our society faces. I founded Silencing the Stigma, an organization that will work to fight that taboo. Fighting the taboo is the first of many things we need to do. Mental illness is not shameful, but the stigma is. We must shed light on this paradox in our society that prizes freedom of speech but silences the voices of those struggling. We as youth, must begin the conversation. 1 in 4 of us may be suffering but 4 in 4 of us must be speaking. We all must be silencing the stigma.


Isabel: What has it been like working with so many young people in the mental health community to advocate for change?


Lauren: The youth are the present and the future so therefore, I can say wholeheartedly that I’ve never been more empowered. It is quite incredible to watch people of all backgrounds come together and unite under a cause. It is not partisan or political, but simply human.


Isabel: I hear a lot about the negative aspects of social media on mental health, but how do you feel like the Internet can be used for positive change?


Lauren: While still acknowledging that the internet and social media can be incredibly detrimental to one’s mental health, I truly do believe it is an effective tool to utilize in order to reach others. It has become such a integral part of our society and we might as well utilize it. Social media is a platform that’s powered by people, and can echo people’s very best intentions, as well as their very worst. Those who seek to hurt others are emboldened by the internet, yet the same can be said for those who seek to help others and advocate for change.


Isabel: Totally. Are there any current activism projects you are working on that you wanna shout out or plans for the future?


Lauren: Aside from founding and leading Silencing the Stigma, I contribute to several youth led magazines named Lune, Reforming America, and Defiant, all of which advocate for positive and necessary change. I’m also a leader in my local chapter of Students Demand Action which is working to fight the epidemic of gun violence within our communities. Earlier this month, I worked with students from across the state of Florida and throughout the nation to plan a youth climate strike on March 15th, demanding that our lawmakers take substantial action to fight climate change.


Isabel: I’m asking everybody this: What advice do you have for young people who want to speak out and change the world?


Lauren: If we don’t speak up, who will? There is no one to fight for us, we must be the leaders for change. I urge you to utilize your platform to advocate for issues that you are passionate about. There is no right way to approach activism but it all begins with your voice. You have the power to create change simply by choosing to amplify your own voices and others around you. You are the change.




I talked to Brandon Lucas Gonzalez, a 17 year-old mental health activist from New York City. We chatted about growing up in America, mental health relating to immigration, and social media.


Isabel: So, how do you believe that lawmakers can better support the immigrant community relating to mental health?


Brandon: Something that lawmakers could do to just make immigrant’s lives easier would be to understand what is going on in their home country. My country of the Dominican Republic has had some political turmoil and our neighboring country of Haiti has as well. Lawmakers just need to be more empathetic to the immigrant experience and what these people go through in their own nation.


Isabel: How do you feel like immigrant rights are intersectional with mental health?


Brandon: Immigration intersects greatly with the mental health conversation. I am a part of Silencing the Stigma, an online mental health resource that’s fighting for mental health awareness and as a person with an immigrant family, there is a lot of generational trauma. Growing up in America, I had to battle learning English and also reflecting on my own culture which was hard because I didn’t want to lose a part of myself, but you kind of have to know English to thrive in America which sucks. That is just one bit of it. For people immigrating first-generation, the things they have to go through in their home land are traumatic and then they come over here and find even more xenophobia. It’s just a challenge.


Isabel: Totally. You mentioned it briefly, but I know you do work with Silencing the Stigma and with Reforming America. What does it mean for you to be able to share your voice as a youth of color using social media platforms?


Brandon: Social media has always been a part of my activism. I grew up on Tumblr learning about all the things that affect me as a person of color or as a queer person. All of my understanding came from social media. I knew about suppression, but social media helped me learn more. It gave me a space to understand my own mental health. Being able to use my voice as a person of color in all of these spaces is kind of inspiring to myself.


Isabel: Yeah that’s awesome! What has been your most memorable experience as a youth activist and what lessons did it teach you?


Brandon: My most memorable youth activist experience happened a year ago. I was in Memphis at the 2018 Youth Action Summit and I was invited there because I had established myself as an activist in New York. I didn’t think much of it and was just like “yay I get to travel.” Having actually gone and participated in that summit, I can say that it was life-changing. I felt like I was where I belonged and so many people gave me helpful resources for the future. I am still friends with a lot of them.


Isabel: Are there any current activism projects you are working on or any plans for the future?

Brandon: I am a part of the editing team for this blog called Amplifying Our Voice and it is just a space for people of color to speak about issues that affect us. I’m also thinking about writing another article for Reforming America and doing a sustainability project in the future.


Isabel: Very cool. I’m asking everybody this: What advice do you have for other young people who want to speak out and change the world?


Brandon: I would say to always be your true authentic self. In any space you show up in, know who you are, know where you came from, and stick to that always. Never water yourself down and build your own seat at the table.

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I talked to Alyssa Canciani, a 17 year-old mental health activist from Lehigh Acres, FL. We chatted about our society today, mental health stigmas, and gun violence.


Isabel: What has your experience been like with the youth mental health community and what have you learned about yourself through it?


Alyssa: My experience with the youth mental health community has been extremely eye-opening. I have learned that I need to take some time for myself every now and then. I have also learned that I have a deep passion for helping others and being a servant leader in society.


Isabel: As a young person, what do you think our society needs to understand about mental health awareness?


Alyssa: As a young person, I think in today's society we need to realize that mental health is real and the stigmas are very harmful. I would like society to understand that to be able to help other people you must be able to help yourself first. Also, that social media plays a major impact on mental health and your actions online can transfer into someone else's real life.


Isabel: That is absolutely true. Why were you inspired to start working with Silencing the Stigma and what does that movement mean to you?


Alyssa: I was inspired to start working with Silencing the Stigma because mental health isn't taken as seriously as it should be. I feel that the media underplays mental health and heavily stigmatizes it so I joined Silencing the Stigma to put an end to that, one conversation at a time.


Isabel: You are also very passionate about gun control. How do you feel like gun control and mental health are correlated with young people in the United States?


Alyssa: I feel like gun control and mental health play a major part in the young people of our society due to the trauma that has followed from gun violence. It also correlates with young people because those with severe mental illnesses sometimes view violence as their only escape when in reality, there are plenty of ways to seek help and recover.


Isabel: Are there any current activism projects you are working on that you wanna shout out or plans for the future?


Alyssa: I'm currently a representative for the merchandise team at Silencing the Stigma and we are creating merchandise to start a conversation about mental health. Also, I'm starting a Youtube channel that showcases the daily life of an activist teenager in high school transitioning into college and dealing with the obstacles of today's society.


Isabel: That’s really cool! I’m asking everybody this: What advice do you have for young people who want to speak out and change the world?


Alyssa: The advice I have for young people who want to speak out and change the world is that although many people will try to stop you, if you keep on pushing you will succeed. Every small action counts to something even if that is just making a post on your social media platform. We are so connected through our social media platforms so use them to your advantage and change the world!




I had a great conversation with Riya Kataria, a 16 year-old mental health activist from Fremont, CA. We talked about speech advocacy, seeking radical change, and feeling your emotions.


Isabel: Tell me about Picket Fence Academy. What inspired you to start that organization and why do you believe the work is important?


Riya: I started this organization because I've always been someone with a loud voice. I'm lucky enough to come from a family that could afford to invest in public speaking education, but I'm one of the lucky ones. I know that it is one of the most valuable skills out there and I wanted to bring that to the community of those who may not be able to afford it.


Isabel: What have you learned about mental health as a young person through your work in the speech advocacy community?


Riya: I have depression. Plain and simple. I know that my experience is different from others, and I've learned from that. I've learned that mental health has such an intricate and multifaceted effect on people. This leads to different views/stigmas behind certain mental illnesses and we must fight the stigma for everyone, not just ourselves.


Isabel: You also work on the frontlines of so many political issues. Why do you believe that youth activism will change the world?


Riya: We are the future. We are seeing an uprising, a revolution of people from different backgrounds and beliefs uniting together under the title of justice. There is no future without us, and there is no us without seeing the future.


Isabel: What do you believe we should be teaching young people to help them feel comfortable growing and leading in our society?


Riya: We must mobilize. There was a time where we could sit back and do nothing, but in an increasingly divided country, we must take a stance. There is no staying neutral when it comes to the real world. If we teach our youth to lead, we have a genuine possibility to create the radical change we seek.


Isabel: Are there any current activism projects you are working on that you wanna shout out?


Riya: Yes! I am currently planning a nationwide march for education through an organization that I founded called StudentsRise! We're currently looking for members of our executive team, so please apply at tinyurl.com/studentsriseteam and follow our Instagram @thestudentsrise.


Isabel: I’m asking everybody this: What advice do you have for young people who want to speak out and change the world?


Riya: I'd say that the most important thing is to feel your pain. Feel the anger when you are served injustice. Feel the frustration when it feels like nothing is working out. Feel the sorrow of your losses. Because while you may feel horrible, there is no denying that emotion is what fuels you to change the world.




I talked to Nina Schubert, a 19 year-old mental health activist from Kent, OH. We discussed the positive side of social media, what recovery is really like, and ending the stigma.


Isabel: What does being an advocate for mental health mean to you?


Nina: To be an advocate, for me, is to be willing to talk about the good and the bad. If you are in recovery you are most likely going to have bad days and it is important to acknowledge them. You don’t have to share everything, but social media is usually a place where people show just positives. It’s important to show the good and the bad. It is important to learn and grow with each experience. It is important to own your mistakes and keep trying to learn.


Isabel: How do you believe that young people can break the negative stigma around mental health awareness?


Nina: I think that young people will break the negative stigma through social media and talking with others. So many young people these days are using their voices for change. Social media is a huge platform that so many of us use to talk about important issues and reach further than we can in person. Talking to people in person is just as important. Reaching out to people you know, correcting people when they have inaccurate information, ending negative jokes about mental health.


Isabel: You are very open on your social media about your eating disorder recovery. What do you think is the biggest misconception about being in recovery?


Nina: I think that biggest misconception that I have received is that I would go through treatment and be cured. Sometimes people think that treatment is one time and fixes all. Recovery is an everyday thing. You get up and you have to make sure you eat. You have to make sure that you don’t act on behaviors. Some days can be so hard and it can feel impossible to do basic things. Sticking to my therapy work and skills is what helps me.


Isabel: How do you think our society could better support young people when it comes to getting help for mental health?


Nina: I think that it is important to listen and let us feel heard. There are so many times I have been told that I am too young to understand or know what I am talking about. I think to help, it is important to share what we do know. The conversation is changing every day and we have come so far. Mental illness is more acknowledged and accepted, but we still have so far to go. It is important to show that you may not know, but you want to learn and try to understand; to be willing to learn new ways to talk and react.


Isabel: Are there any current activism projects you are working on that you wanna shout out?


Nina: I started an organization called the Nightingale Project that I work on every day. We work to end negative stigma and help educate people on mental illness and give back to the community. We are working right now to create an event to promote self-love/body positivity and I am really excited about it.


Isabel: I’m asking everybody this: What advice do you have for young people who want to speak out and change the world?


Nina: Start however you know how. Talk to friends, share on social media, write about it, etc. Taking that first step can be scary and exciting. It might take time to reach the way you want, but even helping one person can start an avalanche of activity. Knowing that I can help one person with my words is worth it to me. You’ve got this.