Posts tagged "mental health"

Meet Hannah + Charlie Lucas!

(Photo credit: Vania Stoyanova)

Keeping up with grades, navigating your way through a harsh social scene, parents constantly applying pressure for perfection…when does it ever stop? As a student, the pressures of life can quickly build-up and invite a “you against the world” mentality.

We have all been there–typed out a text message asking for emotional or physical support, only to delete it before sending. Teen entrepreneurs Hannah and Charlie Lucas are redefining the power of mental health while creating a fresh platform with their new app notOK™. Recently winning the NAMI Young Leader Award (National Alliance in Mental Illness), the fearless siblings are snatching away any shame that’s accompanied with asking for help. 

(Photo credit: Vania Stoyanova)

Just last year Hannah was fainting so much that she missed 70% of the school year due to a rare disease called POTS. While she was there she constantly got bullied and even threatened (by a fellow student) that she would be taken advantage of the next time she passed out in school. Being scared was a permanent state of mind. After becoming severely depressed and even attempting suicide, Hannah’s little brother Charlie stepped in to help her change things. The two searched for apps that helped teens in their time of distress. They didn’t find any so they created their own- the notOK app.

In just a few months after launch, these inspirational tech siblings have been gaining massive attention with over 49k downloads in just 3 months. They are working with Thrive NYC to implement a program in NYC schools next year and even scored their first investor.

To use notOK™, simply open the app, tap the red button and a text message will be sent to up to 5 pre-selected contacts that reads: “Hey, I’m not OK. Please call me, text me, or come find me,” along with a link to your current GPS location. Whether you’re a teen or an adult suffering from loneliness, anxiety, depression, stress, suicidal thoughts, or anything else, immediate help is only the tap of a button away.You no longer have to suffer alone. Help is closer than you think!

Let’s get to know Hannah + Charlie a little better…

(Photo credit: Vania Stoyanova)

The notOK app is beyond brilliant and is blazing the way for teens to tap into mental health. Why was it important to create a platform that not only allowed both of you to overcome personal struggles but other teens as well?
It’s important to create a platform that allows people to have open discussions about the difficult topics. In having these difficult conversations, it suddenly makes it OK to be notOK. And it gives people the opportunity to answer some of the less talked about questions.

Hannah, due to having POTS caused you to miss 70% of the school year which led to bullying. How were you able to shift your energy from a negative situation into a positive solution?
To be honest, I don’t think I would’ve been able to shift my perspective if it weren’t for the help of a therapist. When I first started going to therapy, I’m not going to lie, I was obnoxiously sarcastic. I just wanted to get out of there as fast as possible. When I started working on notOK I finally saw hope again. At that point I started to take my therapist seriously because something clicked inside and I realized that she was there to help me not harm me.

Charlie, seeing your older sister having to overcome obstacles could have caused you to feel a bit helpless. What motivated you to use your strengths + talents to be there for her?
Well helplessness was a key factor in getting me to this breaking point, where I couldn’t do anything anymore so when Hannah gave me her idea I leaped at the chance to help her.

Unfortunately, a lot of time teen mental health or stress isn’t taken as serious as it should be. It is labeled as “growing pains” or even being “dramatic”. How does the notOK app make it clear of the pressures teens deal with on a daily basis?
notOK is designed to destigmatize mental health. In doing so, all alerts should be received as urgent. The trusted contacts should keep in mind that even though it seems small, to the user, it could be life altering. Being notOK means something different for each individual person.

Mental health can be looked as a “weakness” when it comes to teens of color, how can we shift that stereotype and push diversity in this area?
In order to shift that stereotype, you have to start thinking of mental health as physical health. You have yearly check-ups for your physical but just ignore your mental health. When you really think about it mental health is just the chemicals in your body that make you feel or think a certain way. Thinking about it this way often helps people be more understanding towards those struggling with their mental health.

Actress Jenifer Lewis and Hannah Lucas

Being young, juggling responsibilities while walking towards your dreams can sometimes get to be a bit overwhelming, how do you regroup and motivate yourself when you’re feeling a little defeated?
Personally, I love to exercise. Whenever I feel a bit overwhelmed I just hop on my bike and ride around for a while. This is a great way to release all of the tension in my body and also keep in shape.

We are all about empowerment, what does EMPOWERMENT mean to you?
Empowerment to me means having a hope for the future and having the power to achieve that future.
Empowerment means the hope of rights and equality for everyone, Empowerment means the hope of peace to me, Empowerment is the feeling of when the nation gets together to stop the injustices that happen within it.

Photo credit: Vania Stoyanova

Time for faves! Celeb Crush? Artist? Food? Movie?

Celeb Crush:
Hannah: Trevor Jackson without a question!!!

Artist:
Charlie:Brendan Urie, Ben Platt, Pitbull, and Last but definitely not least,*drumroll* BEYONCE.
Hannah: My top 3 are Queen Bey (of course), Drake (obviously), and Kendrick Lamar (without a question)

Food: Cheese Curds, Mozzarella Cheese Sticks, Creme’ Brulee, Cheese, All And Every Type

Movie:
Charlie: Greatest Showman
Hannah: Black Panther hands down!!!

Stay in the loop with Hannah + Lucas here

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Campus Crash? Zen Out!

Coming back from spring break + trying to focus on the rest of the semester is the task of the century. That’s not including the laundry list of responsibilities of  being a full-time college student, balancing a part-time gig, a dwindling social life and still trying to  scrape up all the extra-credit in an attempt to hold on to your GPA. Okay, so before you literally throw your hands-up + just pretend all of your responsibilities don’t exist, we have 3 for-sure tips to CREATE YOUR ZEN:

Breathe In, Breathe out + Chat it Out! Just breathe. Instead of stressing yourself with your  infinite to-do list of tasks in your mind, get out of your head. If that means writing out your thoughts or downloading the Talkspace app for a listening ear, it’s important not to drive your anxiety sky-high by bottling up your emotions. Although friends + family are great outlets, oftentimes they’re the ones bringing the most drama. So embracing online therapy can give you fresh energy to your situations.

Cleanse your CREW!– Speaking of friends, some of them you might need to sage. Okay, not literally burn sage everywhere they go, but  take inventory of who’s in your crew + the energy they bring.  Do you have that one friend that every convo is ALWAYS about her? Or the roommate who’s already on academic probation + gives you 10 reasons to skip class every day? Well, this is the time where you need to shower away draining ties in your life. It doesn’t haven’t to be a full announcement, just don’t be as available. They’ll catch the hint.

(Giphy.com)

Spring Space- So as the seasons change so should  your space! Do you need to be the next contestant on Room Makeover? Not necessarily, but a few tweaks here + there can help bring you peace while you’re studying for finals. So clean up all of your ramen noodles bowls and halfway full Starbucks cups. Add some color with fresh flowers + daily inspo quotes. You’re on the home stretch! Breathe, release + make it to the finish line.

You’ll thank us, later!

(Giphy.com)

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Meet Black Girls Smile!

Depression can feel like you’re drowning especially if you feel as if their is no one around to save you. In 2012 Lauren Carson created a life jacket for young African American girls suffering with mental health issues through Black Girls Smile Inc!  Lauren envisioned a society that through the normalization and dialogue surrounding mental wellness, all individuals, including young African American females would be provided the education, support and resources necessary to lead a positively mentally healthy life.

Let’s get to know Lauren a little better…

Black Girls Smile empowers young African American women to take ownership of their mental health and stability, what made you launch this powerful organization?

I was diagnosed at age 15 with clinical depression and suffered two suicide attempts at 19 and 20. After
my second suicide attempt, as crazy as it sounds I decided I wanted to live, and to do that I knew I had to focus on making my mental wellness a top priority. And I did! I graduated from a top university, got a job in NYC at a finance, and most importantly I was the most mentally healthy I had ever been. During this period, I took some time to look back over my mental health journey, and although I came out of it positively, there were many negative points that could have been avoided. I realized I was fortune to have the financial means and familial support to come out of my darkest moments well, but I also realized this is not the reality for so many other young African American females like me. I knew that I had to give my journey purpose that I had to do my part to uplift and empower other young African American women to lead mentally healthy lives. Black Girls Smile Inc. was born, and still today works to educate, provide resources and support to help encourage positive mental health and wellness.

Being a voice in the community motivates others to be great, what type of programs and events does Black Girls Smile host?

Black Girls Smile Inc.’s mission is to promote positive mental health education, resources and education
geared toward empowering the mental wellness of young African American girls. We host various programming events and initiatives geared at educating young African American women on general mental health, illness and wellness. Our signature program, “SHE’s Mentally Prepared” also works with
young women to create a self-care action plan and empowers young women to find creative ways to cope with stressors and practice self-care. We also host Vision Board parties, Book Club series and other various events that promote and empower young women to lead a mentally healthy life.

We tend to pull characteristics from others in our lives or from people we admire, who inspires you and why?

I would honestly say everyone in my life inspires me, from family to friends to colleagues. I have been
very intentional as I have gotten older to ensure I surround myself with people that inspire me in various ways. My mother is and always will be my biggest inspiration. Her compassion, patience (and this is big, I always need to work on my patience), and ability to let others be themselves is something I have always admired and continuously try to replicate a fraction of this in myself.

If you had to give one piece of advice to teen girls who are struggling with being comfortable in their own skin, what would it be?

Take a breath, everything will be ok! I remember the intensity I felt in many situations as a youth, as I have grown and matured, I see the beauty and helpfulness in taking a breath and calming one’s self
down.Putting situations in perspective and being able to cope with life’s stressors is key!

Working with youth both parties learn from each other, what’sone trait you have learned from working with girls?

I am in awe at the reminder of how resilient young women/girl are. Working with youth we are constantly reminded of all of the stressors that enter their lives and have the potential to affect them, however we constantly see youth thrive, grow, learn and mature. I am humbled to continuously work
with youth that display such resiliency and hunger for growth.

We’re all about empowerment at C.O.R.E Mag, what does EMPOWERMENT mean to you and your organization?

Empowerment means sharing to me and Black Girls Smile Inc.’s mission. Young African American girls
and women for too long have struggled with mental health difficulties alone and in silence. We work to
empower/share self-care methods, coping techniques and support to encourage individual and
community mental wellness.

Fun Faves! Fave Food? Artist? Song? Celeb Crush?

My favorite food hands down would have to be hibachi; Japanese steakhouses where they cook in front
of you. I always enjoy it because it’s a communal dining experience, not to mention the food is always
amazing!

Alicia Keys “Girl on Fire”. I consider this song to be my theme song; an ode to young women and girls
ready to step into who they truly are and share their unique talents with the world. I try to be a Girl on Fire in everything I do.

My celebrity crush would have to be Jesse Williams. Not only is her very handsome, but he has
continued to speak up in Hollywood when others in his industry shied away from racial issues. I consider him dreamy and woke.

Find out more here!

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