STUART, Fla. (CBS12) — Nira Goyal is not a licensed mental health counselor.
However, at 16, this Martin County High School junior knows there’s a growing crisis when it comes to teens and mental health.
She's tackling the problem head-on.
“Mental health is not something to be ashamed of. That’s misconception that’s out there,” said 16-year-old Nira Goyal.
Goyal created a non-profit organization, Teen Mental Reset, Inc., to break the stigma and open the doors for people her age to share their struggles with issues like anxiety and depression.
“Teenagers are more likely to turn to other teenagers and their peers, rather than going to an adult. It’s important to spread the warning signs about mental health issues so that we can helping each other,” she said.
Goyal aims to direct teens to the resources available, so that they can get the help they need.
She knows firsthand the tragic consequences it could have.
“Unfortunately, I’ve had two extended family members that have committed suicide. Some family members have even lied about suicide being the cause of death, which really goes to show that there’s idea in society that mental health issues have to be hidden,” said Goyal.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people their age, according to the CDC.
The pandemic hit teens particularly hard.
According to the CDC, more than a third of high school students reported they experienced poor mental health during COVID-19 pandemic, and 44% reported they persistently felt sad or hopeless during the past year.
Inside the Blake Library in Stuart Tuesday night, Goyal held an event surrounding teens and mental health with panelists who all contributed to our communities: Dr. Lalit Chaube, a practicing pediatric psychiatrist, Mrs. Rebecca Burd, the Director of Speak Life End Bullying the Musical, and Mr. Jarrod Strickland, the Executive Director of NAMI Florida (National Alliance on Mental Illness).
To learn more about Teen Mental Reset Inc., click here.