I’m passionate about mental health because I’ve struggled with it my whole life, and a lot of my family has. For example, my dad [completed] suicide when I was one year old. Since it has affected my life dramatically, I see how it affects other people’s lives. Some of the things that I’ve gone through in my life make it very important to me to make sure that other people get the help that they need. Wanting to be a school counselor was inspired by me wanting to be the person that I never had. 
My past struggles inspire me to make somebody else’s life better because I know what it feels like to have to go through these things alone. I want to make as many people feel heard and seen as possible. I want to be somebody that makes sure that it’s known that mental health is not taboo. It’s not something you should be ashamed about, especially as a kid, because if you have mental health issues, it’s not your fault. Everybody struggles with it at some point in their life. 
I struggle knowing that I’m surrounded by so many kids that really need help, but don’t even know they can get help. I would like to see time dedicated to showing teens resources that are out there; teens are always surprised by the resources that are available. Having them visible would make some feel more comfortable, knowing that, ‘If they’re telling all of us, maybe a lot of people need this. And if I need this, maybe I’m not the only one.’ Even hosting simple events dedicated to suicide prevention or having a Therapy Thursday, anything that will show students that it’s okay to not be okay. 
Go to your counselor and tell them what’s going on; they’re there to help. If you’re afraid to ask for help, know that they chose this career path to help you specifically. I did that today at the end of school because out of nowhere I was drained and tired, just because I felt really sad. Whenever I’m having one of those days, I can’t focus on anything. I have my favorite counselor, so I went to her office and stayed in there. I was able to decompress, and I was actually able to do my work. Just having that place that you can decompress and having people in your corner really helps. 
— Hailey