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School Health and Safety

Redefining Toughness as the Ability to Ask for Help

Amid troubling times, it’s time to help teenagers express their problems towards those who can help.

We can all identify one moment in our lives when we didn’t quite have it all together but tried to make it seem as though we did. And in this process, we somehow lose our ability to just be human.

We all experience obstacles in our lifetimes. Some of us share them openly, while others find comfort in dealing with them in privacy. But one thing we do know is that we cannot say for certain what the person next to us is dealing with. You can’t always see that your classmate is struggling with depression. It’s not always on display. As children, we’re often taught the importance of being able to walk in someone else’s shoes. And while you can try to imagine what it’s like to walk in another person’s shoes, we are the sum of all our experiences. So, we cannot truly understand what it is like to be that person on a daily basis. But we can be supportive of each other.

The majority of young people will not tell an adult about the challenges they are facing, but they will tell a peer. Today’s classrooms and educators are not equipped to provide children with the support they need. While they can do their best to provide students with the help they need, our children need the guidance of the right people, in the right environments.

A heartwarming tale

With the help of the nonprofit Be Strong, Mary found that her daughter, student leader Lydia, had deeply benefitted from its programs made to recruit, train, and mobilize students.

“I never knew about this program until my kids were nominated. You never know how valuable this program has become for my kids. My oldest was bullied for years and then took a stand against it one year. That changed her life.”

“She saved a girl yesterday at school. I got a phone call from the school counselor saying a 7th grader in my daughter’s class was talking about being bullied and wanted to end her life. My daughter said something so special to her that she asked Lydia to go with her to the counselor. Lydia told her it was a safe and judgement free zone. Lydia explained to the counselor what was going on and excused herself so they could have a private conversation. With the student’s permission, she called the girl’s parents, and they had a conversation about seeking help.”

“The school counselor has never had a student help another student like my daughter did. I’m so proud of my eldest who just turned 13. So, I just want to thank this program for helping my kids help others. Even if it is just one life saved.”

Be strong

It is crucial that we look past the surface and be confronted with the idea that none of us are what we can see. There’s so much more to us than what meets the eye. A global pandemic coupled with social and political discord have exacerbated a growing national mental health crisis that spans every generation and demographic. America’s youth face an exceptionally high risk. Sixty-three percent of young adults report symptoms of anxiety and depression, and a staggering one in four reported considering suicide because of the pandemic. 

Now more than ever, our charities like Be Strong need your help to create the conditions for action, compassion, and empathy.

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