Hi everyone! My name is Kayla Venger and I am an incoming high school junior from San Diego, CA. Though a California native, I’ve never really been one to surf; rather, I have a keen passion for music, and spend much of my free time practicing my singing and discovering new artists on spotify. Singing has always been my primary outlet for creative expression, and has supported me through both the highest of highs and lowest of lows, particularly during the pandemic.
I know I am not alone when I say that the past several months have been nothing short of difficult, confusing, and overwhelming.
Personally, as a high school student, the transition from a classroom environment to a virtual academic setting was far from smooth, and I had great difficulty remaining focused, concentrated, and interested in my studies. In addition, I missed spending time with my friends, and the lack of social interaction left me feeling especially lonely and unhappy. The looming uncertainty and restricted social activity definitely did a number on my mental health, but I have been able to navigate through these challenges and work to improve my emotional wellbeing. As my mother is a social worker, mental health was always an open and familiar topic in my household, and the importance of mental wellness has always been emphasized. This mindset was particularly uplifting during these past trying months, as I’ve always been taught to treat my mind, body, and soul with equal care.
Recently, however, I’ve realized that that mentality is not shared by everyone; in fact, many people, especially teenagers, do not feel comfortable reaching out when they are struggling emotionally, and others just do not consider their mental health to be as important as their physical health. Frantically, from face masks to hand gloves to shields, we do all we can to keep our bodies safe, yet often fall short of the same care when it comes to our mental wellbeing.
This is why I turned to Project Proactive, whose primary objective is to promote positive mental health and break barriers and stigmas that often prevent people from accessing proper assistance. Through their Teen Leadership Development Program, I have had the honor to work alongside dedicated teen leaders and gain tremendous knowledge from experts in the fields of mental health and community leadership. Please join me in working to normalize the conversation surrounding mental health, creating an atmosphere in which the importance of mental health is recognized by all as vital to our overall well being.
- Teen Leadership