asha international mental health

We Give Hope

If you expressed yourself about how to improve youth mental health, what would you say and why?

Thank you to our program funder

ASHA International thanks Creative Life Lines and Mind Matters, PC for their support and collaboration on this project.

Interested in participating in this program?

Mental Health & The Voices of Youth

To be brave is to act with authenticity despite having fear. To express from deep knowing that comes from lived experience can be an act of bravery. The If My Words Could Make A Difference Youth Mental Health Campaign is honored to share with you insight from thoughtful and brave words, ideas, and creative contributions on how to improve youth mental health. Below are submission received, click on each image to view the full submission. 

Hope, healing, and new ways to serve and live can be found within the pages of “Mental Health & The Voices of Youth.” In reflective response and heartfelt caring may we respond with individual, community, and systemic acts of inspired bravery on behalf of youth and their mental health well-being.

Creative Work Submissions

Sally

by Cameren, 20 yo

I want to submit my drawing of my dog Sally, because she’s becoming very important in helping my mental health. I adopted her three weeks ago, so we’re still getting to know each other, but we already have a special bond.

I’ve been in a routine of doing pretty much nothing since the pandemic started. Preparing to adopt Sally made me more productive around the house, and since Sally came home, I’ve been much more active. Before, I wasn’t very motivated to get out of the house and stretch my legs; and I didn’t want to go for walks by myself. Now, I’m going on three to four walks per day with Sally. She’s even helping me have a better sleep schedule. I am motivated to get out of bed a little earlier in the morning so I can take care of her, which means I go to bed a little earlier at night.

Sally keeps me company while my dad works in his office. She sits on the couch with me and rests her head in my lap. (Which is what she’s doing as I write this.)

The feeling of having earned a dog’s trust and love is one of the most amazing feelings in the world! Now that I have a new loyal friend by my side, I have no doubt that she will give me confidence boost whenever I need it.

Hold Your Head

by Katie, 14 yo

I want people to know that someday, hopefully, it will get better.

I’ll hold your head up high,
And wipe your salty tears.
The weight of the world
Rests on your shoulders.

But just know,
That someday,
Someday it will be okay.

Step out of the dark,
And heal your wounds,

Because one day:
You will be okay.

Chain your demons,
To the dungeon wall,

And dream of a brighter future
Where the battles have been fought.

It’s not all on you,
To be happy,
And when your smile is a plastic shield,

And your soul is weary from fighting,
There’s a light in the gloomy storm.

Love is apparent
It’s held by the future of yourself.
You’ve survived thus far,

And even if the journey wasn’t far,
It was exhausting.

No one could see your problems,
And you thought they didn’t exist.

But your burdens aren’t a hoax,

And it’s never your fault,
For crying out when nothing works,

Only to be answered by the lonely ghost
That haunts your head.

The people tread on your grave,
And you think that all is lost,

But don’t give up hope just yet,

Because some day,
Your wounds will have healed

Into lightning bolt scars,
Blessed by the thunder and flood.

And we know in our hearts,
That someday,
It will be okay.

Depression Spell

by Lucy, 15 yo

I want to spread awareness for mental health, and to give people with mental health issues a reminder that it does get better. These are coordinating poems, the first one is how I feel when I’m in a depression spell. And the second one is how I feel coming out of it.

Poem #1
Darkness all around me
Emptiness in my mind and soul
Pain and panic encompass my every move
Rainwater dripping down my face mixing with tears
Escape from the world in a terrible way driven by the fear of myself
Save me from myself
Sorry I can’t love me like you love me
I’m so lost in a world that passes too quickly
One person unnoticed drowning in a sea of silent tears
No one should have to deal with me

Poem #2
Dig deeper to unbury the you, you lost
Escape the pain by learning to love again
Pain can be overcome with help and time
Remember that you are loved and wanted
Emotions are natural, don’t bottle them up or push them down
Soon it will be OK
Sun will shine on you again
I am not a burden
Onward is somewhere I can look now
No one needs to or should feel like they have to hide themselves or their pain

My Story

by Audrey, 15 yo

I not only end the stigma around mental health but also help educate parents and peers about mental health conditions.

My name is Audrey, I go to Lincoln high school as a sophomore. I am here on behalf of ASHA to spread a message of hope and share my story. I have never felt at home in my body. from a young age The media and people have been telling me that if I don’t look like a photoshopped photo – then I have no value. This message that was constantly hammered into my head made my body feel like its only purpose was to hold me back. 

I noticed I was bigger than all my friends, and I felt out of place. In 5th grade a kid called me fat.  I made myself think that all my problems were because I wasn’t skinny. From that point on my looks and my body were my biggest concern. I hadn’t learned what diets were so I was confused why I looked like this while others looked like that. I was frustrated and everything felt unfair. I was deemed worthless for some reason I didn’t understand. I thought all my problems would be fixed if I looked like the models or fit the beauty standard. 

Every piece snapped together in 7th grade health. Continue Reading

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