Who Are We?
Founded in June 2020, Mental Health Initiative (MHI) is a youth-based nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating the single story surrounding bay area students and mental health. Our board of directors consists of four highschool students highly committed to educating and bridging the wide gap between parents and students regarding mental illness. Legalizing the group was an extremely tedious and lengthy process that pushed us to the verge of giving up. Though legalization could be disheartening at times we remained devoted to our cause Since then, we have partnered with several different organizations including the SPERO nonprofit, the Saratoga library’s very own Teen Advisory Board (TAB), and SuiSense, a hackathon team which focuses on treating depressed/suicidal patients by spotting key distinctions between the two. In addition, the hackathon team co-owns our MHI website repository, in which we work together on developing the most accessible and convenient user interfaces that make it simple for people to interact with us at a productive level. As we work to recruit more members into our organization, we plan to hold meetings at the Saratoga library addressing a variety of topics related to mental health. Given the world’s current state, we understand that in-person meetings are not plausible at the moment. Therefore, our group will place a greater emphasis on social media for product sales and updates.
The inspiration behind the Mental Health Initiative (MHI) is simple. We are a group of juniors and seniors at Saratoga High School, who have a substantial amount of experience regarding student’s mental health and several misconceptions about it. Teens frequently struggle due to competitive environments, parental standards, and the overwhelming pressure to succeed. Overestimation, imposter syndrome, or pressures from peers and parents can lead to poor mental health, academic struggles, and burnout. The underlying problem, however, remains with these students’ inability to reach out for help.
We are taught in school to build a strong network of adults who can assist us whenever feeling down, or when we encounter a problem. Parents naturally want the best for their children, and will try their best given what they know. Unfortunately, A lack of proper education about mental health can lead to parents not knowing how to handle their children’s issues, and unintentionally hurting them. Students feel alone in their struggles and feel as if they have no choice but to deal with their issues by themselves. We feel giving parents the tools to effectively manage their child's mental health and highlight its importance is the most productive way to progress our community toward a healthier environment for future generations. Although not intentional, adults often add on to the pressure being exerted on students, and without even realizing it, prioritize academics and grades over the well being of the student. In no way are we attempting to slander the actions and choices of parents, we simply are advocating for a change in the way our community as a whole approaches situations.
Mental health has been a problem in the Bay Area for a very long time, but the issue has always been shunned and avoided. To make matters worse, the recent COVID pandemic has made it even harder to deal with these struggles for students faced with pressures of school, extra-curricular activities.. The added stress around one's safety and the safety of their loved ones has made dealing with stress and change much worse. Thus, there is no better time to create a strong movement like this to make sure that Bay Area students are aware of the help that is on the way.
The stigma surrounding mental health is very prominent in today’s world, especially in the bay area. Due to parental pressure to maintain good grades and succeed academically, kids in bay area schools often experience mental health issues. They are overwhelmed by the competitive environment surrounding them. Unfortunately, many students find that they are afraid to voice their mental health problems. This is mainly because many parents are not equipped to help their children with these issues, which is the most prominent reason children are unwilling to address their problems. Bridging the gap between parents and students for the mental health struggles children face is a huge mission for us as well which will effectively get us to our end goal of eliminating the stigma regarding mental health. It is crucial to the progression of our society in a positive direction for the Bay Area as a whole, and that is what we are here to do.
Hours Of Support
Teen Advisory Board
Teen Advisory Board
Meet the passionate team working behind MHI.