As a kid, I’m scared.
I’m scared I’m going to go to school and not come home.
I’m scared the environment is going to heck and even
scared that in a few years, there will be
no safe places for abortions,
or getting birth control,
or being counted as a felon if I miscarry.
It’s really infuriating to feel hopeless and to feel like nothing can be changed or will change, and even if it could, we’re just kids, so what the hell can we do?
Actually, we can do a lot! Yeah, it won’t be easy, and sometimes, you get horrible reactions from adults who totally ignore you, but in my experience, most people are more than willing to listen, you just have to put a little work into finding those people.
For me, speaking out was the way I started working towards some semblance of recovery, but now, speaking out is more than that, it’s necessary. Teen voices need to be heard, they deserve to because we’re all valid and it doesn’t matter that we’re young, we know more than they could ever know. I, for one, am tired of remaining silent, and if you are too, here are some ways to get involved and make a difference.
- Project We Care Colorado – Shameless self-marketing, Project We Care Colorado is a youth-led youth-driven statewide organization focused on educating and advocating for mental health, decreasing stigma and making resources available and affordable for everyone in need. We’ve got journalism opportunities, mental health resources, have worked closely with legislators (House Bill 1120 passed!) and have plenty of ways to get you involved!
- Your local school district wellness committee – This one’s a great one. I’m not sure if every school district does this, but for Eagle County School District our school board started this committee with different community members to create a comprehensive plan for bettering the schools! Groups like these are awesome, but usually lack and desperately need youth voices, so get involved! Start by emailing your superintendent if you have any questions or concerns, they’re usually super responsive and helpful.
- March For Our Lives – Most of you know this one, it’s a favorite of mine, and I have a few sweatshirts of theirs! March For Our Lives is a national campaign whose mission is to harness the power of young people across the country to fight for sensible gun violence prevention policies that save lives. You can create your own chapter or join another one, but it’s a wonderful program.
- Why We Rise – Why We Rise is part of a national movement to transform the mental health care system. We demand that easy access to quality care be recognized as a civil right. Everyone deserves to be well. This is a super cool organization that has a bunch of ways to get involved, definitely recommend.
- Different Mental Health Trainings – Try Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, Mental Health First Aid, and Question Persuade Refer trainings. Ask around your community for different openings for these trainings because they’re fairly infrequent, but reach out to Mollie Fiore from Speak Up Reach Out to find more information and bring these trainings to your town!
Most of these are mental health based, but there are so many different opportunities out there waiting for you, and if you can’t find any you like – make your own! None of what I’m suggesting is simple or mindless. It requires lots of hard work, but I promise you, it’s gonna be worth it.
My goal is to be who I want to be now, and it’s helped me out more than I can explain. Going against the flow is terrifying and intimidating, but if you’re going to do it, go big or home. One way or another you’ve tried and made an impact, and that’s truly all that matters.
If you need any help let me know! I’d love to bounce ideas off of each other, and I think I’m a fairly good resource bank. Take your pills, stay hydrated, eat some food, take good care of yourself physically emotionally and mentally.