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The word that keeps coming to my mind when I hear about the increasing amount of mental health issues our youth is facing is LISTEN. While running my YOU ARE ENOUGH campaign I have been interviewing individuals of all ages and am seeing a pattern where the younger folks I talk to are the ones feeling much more stuck, isolated, and hopeless. Over the past two years of the campaign, there have been five youths aged 14 years old in my neighborhood in Los Angeles who have committed suicide. One of the most common things people say about the increasing amount of suicides and depression/anxiety amongst youths is that the pandemic is what is bringing many to want to end their lives. Yes, there is no doubt that the pandemic is exasperating things. However, there are underlying issues and warning signs we need to watch and be aware of before such a trigger as a pandemic pushes our kids to the limit. The pandemic has been a wake-up call for so many and I am hoping that as a society we can continue to find ways to work on societal healing and help one another carry the load for one another. Parents are dealing with their own stress and are having to relearn how to cope and practice self-care. But, sometimes the load is too hard and now, as we are seeing, the pain and angst that the kids are feeling may not be "seen". It may be something as simple as a child sleeping more, eating too much, having more outbursts, etc. I know parents know this. But, maybe It's time for us to come together that much more to help heal one another, even if it means smiling at a stranger once a day. Who knows, you may be saving someone's life. Children need a support system as do their parents. Please know that YOU ARE ENOUGH and you are not alone.


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