PALM CITY, Fla. (CBS12) — Over the last several years, mental health among kids has become a top concern not just for parents, but for schools and even other students.
Now, all our local school districts are sharing the same message – ‘its ok to not be ok.’
This week’s ‘Hometown Hero’ is a Martin County High School student, taking action through the nonprofit she started called “Teen Mental Reset” to help break the stigma associated with mental health issues.
Nira Goyal is not a mental health professional, but as a 16-year-old high school junior, she knows firsthand the stress teenagers face every day.
From fitting in and planning their future. To fears of a school tragedy and navigating a global pandemic.
“During the pandemic I was a virtual learner for most of the time and that impacted my own mental health negatively, especially since I wasn’t able to talk to my friends, go to school, or get out of the house,” Nira explained. “I think so many people felt that, and I think it’s really brought attention to the fact that mental health needs to be spoken about.”
Nira says the goal of “Teen Mental Reset” is to promote the reality that everybody is going through something, and there are people and resources out there offering real help.
She knows how important it is for teens to get help when they need it, with no shame, because without it the consequences can be tragic.
“I’ve unfortunately had two extended family members that have committed suicide and if that stigma in society wasn’t so present, they may have been more willing to get help,” Nira said.
Nira recently hosted a panel discussion with experts and kids to share problems and solutions for common struggles with anxiety and depression.
She’s also working with local Boys and Girls Clubs and the YMCA to reach more teens in the community.
“We need to be comfortable speaking out about mental health and spreading resources around it so people are able to have these conversations,” Nira said. “Whether it be teachers to students or parents to teenagers or teenagers amongst themselves, we need to all have enough knowledge about mental health to speak out about it and help each other.”
Along with her nonprofit, Nira also helped start a mental health awareness club at school.
And she is the chair of the National Alliance of Mental Illness’s first ever teen advisory council on mental health here in Florida.
To learn more about Nira’s efforts, visit the “Teen Mental Reset” website.