Love and mental health

Published 8:15 pm Tuesday, January 22, 2019

It has become increasingly apparent to me throughout the past few years that the mental health of today’s teenagers is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. As a junior in high school, I am confronted daily with the mental health struggles of my friends and peers, many of whom hide their feelings because of the stigma surrounding this topic. Many teens feel alone and misunderstood, and I hope that will soon change for the better. 

My friend, Emma Strickland, and I decided that we wanted to make a difference relating to this issue we were both so passionate about. We saw a need, and we wanted to do whatever we could to show support to the community by making sure all LaGrange teenagers know they are not alone. 

Along with showing support, we also want to raise awareness about mental health and educate others about it. Emma and I believe that, as citizens of this community, we have a responsibility to attempt to find solutions to these problems and to deepen our community’s understanding of this subject so that the shame attached to it can be abolished. 

The first thing we did was contact Katie Van Schoor, our LaGrange Youth Council advisor and the City of LaGrange’s communications manager.

The event, called “Bring Your Sweetheart to Sweetland,” will take place on Valentine’s Day at 5 p.m. at the Sweetland Amphitheater. Organized by the LaGrange Youth Council, this event is directed toward teenagers but everyone is welcome. It is not necessary to have a significant other to be able to attend, this evening will be fun for everyone. Admission to the event is free. 

There will be ice skating, concessions, games and live music performed by Laegan Smith and Grace Braswell. There will also be a movie, “The Proposal”, shown at 6:30 p.m., following the live music. 

The proceeds from the event will be donated to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization. NAMI representatives will also be coming to the event to speak. 

Emma and I agree that our main goals for this event are to start honest conversations about how mental health struggles affect the lives of teenagers, to raise awareness for this subject, and to reduce the stigma surrounding it. If people aren’t able to freely talk about mental health problems, then solutions will never be found. We just want all teenagers to treat others with kindness, show love to everyone around them, and be able to live their best lives. We hope this event will encourage them to do so.

The LaGrange Youth Councils hopes that this evening turns out to be a huge success, and that a lot of money will be raised for NAMI. LaGrange teenagers are encouraged come to this fun event and share the love with those around them. 

Libby Criswell
LaGrange Youth Council Member