The Road to Resiliency
Categories: Linked Learning, Mental health, Wellness Centers
July 27, 2015 — By Juliane Nguyen
As I am sitting and reflecting, I realized how fortunate and resilient I have been–I studied social work and public health with the intention to help and educate others on health inequities. I am currently doing just that–through the Trust. I am working with a group of extremely resilient and intelligent high school students to become community advocates. As we–the Trust, began to build a relationship with these students, we saw them open up. We joked about sports, talked about music, what life is like after high school, etc. Then as we broke down the shyness barrier and began to build trust, the students began to open up and our talks got serious real quick. They began sharing about their concerns and fears, such as fear of abandonment, failing high school, and other series of unfortunate events that they may have witnessed or experienced firsthand. The students began to remind me of my teen self–in a time of confusion and distrust.
They brought back so many painful memories and looking back to my teen years, I wish I was informed of the counseling services that were available and that someone reached out to me earlier. Fortunately, I met some amazing mentors and professors who encouraged me to look at the bigger picture. Anyway, as I tour various school health centers, I constantly hear that mental health services are being underutilized or unacknowledged and as a result–cut as if there’s no longer a need to address mental health issues. Every time I hear this, it angers and saddens me, especially as a recent graduate in social work and also working with these students, I realize they have two main choices: to either internalize or normalize their circumstances. There is a huge silent cry for help from so many youths that continues to go unheard. My question for everyone is: Are we trying to be proactive or reactive when it comes to mental health services, especially for our youths?
Fortunately, with the help of the Trust, we are working with students to find alternatives to address and destigmatize mental health by first establishing an open and safe communication pathway as well as providing mentorship and informing them of available resources. We are also educating them on how to be proactive in their mental and physical health as well as sharing our own personal narratives on how to ask for help when needed as examples. I see so much potential in these students and I know they are capable of accomplishing so much, but they unfortunately have so much adversity to overcome first. I have no doubt that these students will go far with the right resources and mentorship.
I am writing on behalf of my teen self and many other troubled teens–please spread awareness and bring back MENTAL HEALTH services. Lastly, there is NO SHAME is getting the help you need. FIGHT STIGMA NOW.
If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one, please visit: http://thelatrust.org/mental-health/
Juliane Nguyen is recently graduated with her Masters in Social Welfare and is currently finishing her Masters of Public Health at UCLA. Her career goals include researching, planning, and advocating for holistic health through school-based health centers. This summer, Juliane is working as The L.A. Trust’s school health policy intern on the impact of school-based based health centers within LAUSD. Juliane has also received her B.S. in Health Science and B.A. in Asian American Studies at California State University, Fullerton.