Growing up in my family, mental health was a very common topic. It is something that runs in my family, and something I have dealt with every day since before I can remember. Naturally, I became a very big mental health advocate because of this, though I didn’t take any active steps until 2016 when my father passed away from suicide. That absolutely broke me. I spiraled into horrible mental health. 
Two years ago, I attempted suicide, and I’m so lucky that it didn’t work, because I’m here and I’m so much better. I want to be able to show people that suicide is not the option and that humans are made to get better against all odds. I’m living proof of that, and I want to show people that you can get better. You will get better with work. 
The most common stigma I have faced is being treated as if you’re fragile, like you’re a piece of glass that at any moment is going to break. I find it disrespectful and dehumanizing, because people with mental illness are not pieces of glass, we are still human like everyone else. For schools to make any headway on destigmatizing mental health in our community, they will have to start by getting over the fear. 
Teens need someone, an adult, who will listen to them. I know many teens struggling with mental health will turn to friends, and even at times turn to strangers on the internet, just so somebody will listen to them unbiased and without any judgment. I think it will help us so much to have adults—staff, counselors and parents—who listen without judgment. Each teen’s needs will be different, no matter what, but it all starts with somebody listening. 
— Cozzy