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    Recognizing Mental Health in Young Girls

    Recognizing Mental Health in Young Girls

    Last May, I had the opportunity to attend the “Dear Evan Hansen” event at TIME magazine in New York.

    The event was held in order to discuss the importance of recognizing the effects of mental health on teens. Rowan Blanchard, Disney channel’s star on Girl Meets World, was interviewed during the event as a guest speaker. She answered a question about her own experience in coping with mental health. In her response, she gave her thoughts on why mental health has become so prevalent among teens.

    During the interview Rowan spoke with compassion about the implications of mental health, specifically on young girls.

    Rowan is not surprised “that girls are sad because there is so much stigma to be happy.” She stressed to the audience that it is okay to be unhappy at times and not be perfect. Her talk emphasized the importance of recognizing to not blame teens for any mental health problems. Rowan highlighted the fact that too often do girls feel like they are the “problem” and are to blame. Girls can drown in guilt and should be empowering one another as opposed to feeling ashamed.

    Rowan touched upon her own experience with mental health and that for her the best way to cope was talking to her parents.

    Rowan acknowledged the fact that she knows parents may not be an option for everyone. However, when it comes to sharing how they are feeling simply talking to anyone can help. Find people who want to help you feel better. Talking to others about how you are feeling is one of the healthiest ways to get better. Even though it is difficult, because it puts you at your most vulnerable state, it’s helpful.

    The interview concluded with Rowan stating, I finally feel like “I can just be.”

    She expressed how although she may still face mental health struggles from time to time, she feels comfortable in her own skin and expressing the raw, uncut, and true version of herself. Whether it is through social media, meeting fans, or interviews, she does her best to always put forth the most genuine version of herself in order to show young girls that it is ok to be exactly who you are and it is ok to be perfect not ok all the time.

     

  • Articles

    Tarana Burke and the Me Too Movement

    Tarana Burke and the Me Too Movement

    Tarana Burke, a social activist and all around feminist, coined the term “Me too” after a young girl at a summer camp she was working for, confided in her about her sexual assault. The phrase was put into use around 2006, on a Myspace page she curated. The aim was for everyone, but was specifically targeted towards young people of color in poorer communities.

    However, in an attempt to draw more support and efforts towards sexual assault survivors and the topic in general, the Me Too Movement resurfaced into the limelight because of the actress, Alyssa Milano. Since that day, according to the CNN network, the phrase has been used nearly 200,000 times and tweeted nearly 500,000 times by October 16th.

    I would like to reiterate that I believe sexual assault victims deserve safe spaces to express their pain and heal from what they have been through. These types of incidents can occur to anyone, no matter what background you come from. While I have never been raped personally, I know what it feels like to be put in uncomfortable positions where someone tries to persuade you to do things that you may not like or touch you in a way that you did not want or approve. However, any form of sexual assault is never okay.

    This is not a movement specifically for women either. The reason that this is a multi level situation is because it is a systematic hindrance that has affected women and men on all spectrums and backgrounds. In terms of the film industry, and what has recently happened to powerful men like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby, this has come right in the climax of everything. A platform such as the Me Too Movement reaffirms these people that they are not alone and has given them their voices back.

    Terry Crews, who was groped by a popular movie director, brings up the idea that we should expect more from men too. We should not allow toxic masculinity to distort our perception of how men should deal with their sexual assault as well. While women have been given their rights at a much later start, movements such as these garner confidence and is important for young girls and young men to see across the globe. I believe that grassroots work within the community will be how we can positively impact people the most and the fastest.

    As for the future, I do not think this movement will go to waste. We see people fighting for women’s reproductive rights, we see people fighting against toxic masculinity, and we see people shifting their political thought. Generation Z and onward will not stand for these acts and I see us pushing these morals forward and truly respecting people as human beings. That is why no matter your political association, it is important to vote these people out and give people their rights back and not in the form of privilege.

  • Articles, Mental Health

    Mental Health Apps

    Mental Health Apps

    At the peak of the digital age, our phones have become our best friends.

    Applications can serve multiple functions such as scheduling our days, tracking our periods/ moods, shopping, etc. There are also a few unique apps to help us keep up with our mental health. Mental health is as important as physical health and wellness.

    My aunt always told me never to give our sicknesses power over us. She advised me to give it a name to help me understand it. According to www.medicalnewstoday.com, “Approximately 48.3 million adults in the United States [face] a mental health condition each year, and 9.8 million of those are serious conditions that limit the activities of everyday life.” The article cites that, “Among U.S. adults aged 18-44, mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder are now the third most common reason for hospitalization.” Those numbers are serious, and something that we cannot ignore. Below are a few apps that help cognitive behaviors and monitor mental health.

    Calm

    Calm is available on both the Android and the iPhone. It was created to reduce anxiety one may feel throughout the day, helps improve sleep patterns, and help one to feel happier. It was voted as Apple’s “App of the Year,” a year ago. Within the app, there are breathing meditations and different types of music that help you to relax and ground yourself.

    Moodnotes

    Next is Moodnotes. This app is sold on the iPhone for $3.99 and is a digital journal and mood diary. The app helps to track your feelings and helps improve how you think, or view, life. It is similar to writing in your notes app. Both practices help you learn what triggers your sadness, or other emotions. As stated on the Medical News Today website, “Moodnotes will provide suggestions and useful perspectives to reduce stress and enhance well being. Progress is viewable in the helpful insights dashboard.”

    Moodpath

    Lastly, Moodpath, is another free app. The app asks you daily questions to gauge the state of your well being. It attempts to analyze if you are susceptible to forms of depression. The screening process takes into account your thoughts, emotions, and feelings. Once you have reached two weeks, it creates a digital document. Bring the app up in your counseling session or to a healthcare professional. Medical News Today says it is substantial and beneficial. There are “150 videos and psychological exercises are available to help you understand your mood and strengthen your mental health.”

    These apps are useful. Incorporate them into your daily routine if in-person resources are not accessible. Be well!

  • Articles

    Charity Is The Perfect Companion For Your Career

    Charity Is The Perfect Companion For Your Career

    American people are very generous and often lead the world charitable giving charts. As a girl growing up in the modern world, you’ll notice that its women in particular leading the charge. According to a study earlier this year, 93% of high net-worth women give to charity, whether that’s their time or money. Clearly, giving to charity and having a good career correlates.

    The question is – why? Giving your money away surely doesn’t seem conducive to saving up and benefiting both your personal situation and career. However, as you’ll see, giving to and/or working in charity is a really powerful way to boost your own prospects, do some good for the community, and develop your career or business.

    Helping the community

    When you think about the work you’ll be accomplishing, either through your donation of time and money or as a charity employee, think about the community. When you have a look at the bigger picture, the wider benefits become apparent. Giving back to your local community enables local residents to become more skilled, happier, and more equal. This results in people that you can look at when you’re establishing a business – either to use your service or to come and work for you. This is an approach echoed by entrepreneur Ryan Hibbert, who has suggested it’s a great idea to immediately become involved with local causes when establishing a business. What’s more, you don’t need to be an established charity worker or business. One group of girls in India have used solar power to help communities, according to Thomson Reuters, enabling impoverished communities and building their own business sense.

    Developing your own brand

    The other big benefit of charity comes to your brand. Having a personal brand is becoming more and more important for young entrepreneurs, whether you notice it or not. For instance, many of the most famous Instagram stars have a distinct personal brand. Charity can aid that significantly.

    A great example of this is Hershey’s. Hershey’s was founded as a charitable business and has benefited from this throughout its history, even when its products haven’t. In 2014, they radically changed their branding and were sure to be inclusive of those charitable roots. The result was a revitalized business.

    A lifetime to charity

    Committing to charity and philanthropy is something many great figures have done. President Obama helped out at thanksgiving despite no longer being in the public eye, and entrepreneurs like Sara Blakely and Oprah have continued to look to charity despite a similar situation. Apart from a good conscience, there is evidence to suggest that giving to charity will benefit your own well-being, improving your career and your vitality.

    Giving away money might not seem like a good idea to benefit your career or business. However, the opposite is true, and doing that bit extra for those less in need benefits you and them. Follow the lead of some of the best female business icons, and give something away as part of your career development.

  • Articles, Holiday, Tips

    Holiday Gift Giving on a Budget

    As a teen, it can be tough to shop for friends and family, especially when income is low. Here are some tips for gift givers who are on a budget:

    • Find a way to make some extra money. Reach out to parents who may be in need of a night out so you can do some babysitting. Dog walking, pet sitting, or selling handmade greeting cards are also other options for some money you might need to buy gifts.
    • Make a budget. Set aside an amount of money you will be willing to use for gifts. Write this number down. Next, make a list of the people you want to give gifts to. Consider a dollar amount you will want to spend for each person and write it below the name of each person. For example, you might put a larger number by a family member than by a teacher or friend. Then, add up the numbers. If you find that you are over budget, see the next bullet point.
    •  Make gifts. You can make gifts for everyone on your list or just a few in order to save money. Some homemade gift ideas include bath salts, baked goods, potholders, sachets, or art. Use your talents to your advantage. Many people love homemade gifts because they are so unique and cannot be found at a store.
    • Split the cost of a gift with a friend or family member. This option is great if you want to buy someone a gift you might not be able to afford otherwise. It is also beneficial to the person you split the cost with because you both get to give the gift for less money.

     

    Remember, the fact that you are giving someone a gift means that you care about them a lot, and the thought is always what counts the most! Have confidence in yourself and your gift-giving abilities. You’ve got this!

  • Articles

    Getting Interested in Activism

    Getting Interested in Activism

    At some point in our lives, we realize that not everything around us is perfect.

    We realize that there may be actual problems in the world and that those problems could affect us in horrible ways. Moreover, we also understand that those problems can happen near home. I had a realization in middle school. I knew bad things were happening in the world, but I never thought deeply about any of the issues. When I was in middle school, I had gotten exposure to social issues and their histories. I remember watching part of a documentary in 6th grade about the role of children in the civil rights movement. I remember watching people retell stories of African-American children protesting and subsequently sent to jail, over and over again. It was impossible to not be deeply touched by the documentary and the actions of these kids to achieve justice.

    It was also the same year I learned about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire.

    The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire occurred on March 29, 1911. One hundred forty-five workers had died due to a fire in the building. Better safety laws and regulations could have prevented the tragedy. Once again, after hearing about this historical tragedy I felt very emotional. I thought about the impact of bad policies and what negative consequences can stem from them.

    The older I get, the more aware I become.

    I also realize that immoral ideologies that are a part of sexism, racism, xenophobia, and many other bigoted philosophies exist. They can have negative consequences. Today, I go to rallies, protests, and any other political events I can attend. Advocating for the betterment of human, social, and environmental rights. Now, activism is a passion of mine. At a young age, I was fortunately exposed to social issues. I want to share advice as to how anyone can get interested in activism.

    So, here are a few tips

    One

    Find an issue you are passionate about. Learn by watching the news or listen to the radio. Find out what is happening at your school, neighborhood, or any community you are apart of. It’s a lot easier to feel passionate about an issue if you can empathize with it, or if it is happening close to you.

    Two

    Talk to others about it: Talk to your friends and family about these issues. However, it is always important to be civil when discussing social issues and politics. It is important to respect others opinions and make sure others appreciate yours. Also, once you find a topic you’re passionate about, do a lot of research. The more you know about the subject, the better you can talk about it with others and spread awareness.

    Three

    Check out social media: If you go on a social media platform, such as Facebook, it is easy to find events to attend that help advocate for the issue you find interesting. Also, if you don’t see that there is an event that advocates for your issue, you can create one! Of course, this requires research, getting people to help you support the cause you’re interested in, and plenty of organizing. However, it can be done! Big movements have to start with small steps first!

    I hope this helps anyone who is interested in activism. I believe that it is the job of younger people to educate ourselves about issues we care about so we can push our legislators to make reforms. It’s in our best interest to be activists so we can make the world a better place.

    P.S. If you’re 18 or older, register to vote! Make your voice heard!

    Credits:
    “Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2 Dec. 2009, www.history.com/topics/early-20th-century-us/triangle-shirtwaist-fire.

    Picture Credits: Tucker, Lynae. “Activism and Your Legal Career.” ABA for Law Students, 1 Dec. 2016, abaforlawstudents.com/2016/12/01/activism-and-your-legal-career/.

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com

    How to be Your Biggest Supporter

    How to be Your Biggest Supporter

    Sometimes we are our own worst critics and our own bullies. Sometimes the only person standing in the way is ourselves. I used to look out into the world, and wish that I could feel a part of it; everyone seemed so happy and seemed to know what it was that they wanted to do with their lives. I thought I had to have other peoples guidance in order to advance myself in society. But truth be told, we shouldn’t have to carry these false idols into the foundations of our dreams. Sometimes pushing ourselves too much because of what seems to have on the outside will end in a way that we will regret.

    As a woman, in particular, I feel like we often to have to compete more based off of our looks. I do not think any woman is to blame for this, but I look at it more as a social conditioning. I often reference India Arie’s ‘Video Girl’ as a musical mantra to help me feel better about myself and to remind myself that my quarks are what make me who I am. More so, as a woman, I have struggled with the thought of comparison and if I presented myself in a more feminine way then that would garner a lot of attention. And although it was attention that I had gotten, it was something that made me feel less of myself. I realized that this was a social norm that I had to break and redefine for myself. I could not continue to be the tyrant in my own life. I had to make the decision to slowly let go of the thoughts and opinions, mostly, of those that oppressed me, but also the ones that I had created that kept me in chains.

    Being my own best friend was what brought me personal satisfaction. On www.kindovermatter.com, they suggested to “take photos of yourself [and to] take control of your self-image by taking charge of the camera or hire a photographer whose work you love to help you see your unique self-mirrored back at you.” Physically looking at myself helped me to process my identity more too. I was able to see things that I had never realized myself like how I enjoyed my smile and the way my cheekbones were constructed. I had wondered why I had spent so much time downplaying my appearance when that was not everything that made up who I was. I had finally seen it with my own eyes and knew that no one could take that away from me because it was something that was inborn. I had given it to myself, and that part of me was something that didn’t belong to anyone else. I was now in charge of whether or not I would be offended or upheld when someone had something negative to say about me or when I had something negative to say about myself. The only person that had control over everything was now me.

     

    Makayla Smith is a third-year student at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. She is completing her internship through Girlspring.