Passion project aims to educate peers on mental health

Hi, my name is Nevaeh Perla, and I am a freshman in Ms. Cortez’s English I Honors class. I am currently working on my passion project and my goal is to spread awareness about mental health. I plan to write multiple articles and research many topics about different types of struggles and multiple coping mechanisms.

I’ve had my own struggles with mental health and it’s gotten worse since the pandemic has begun. There would be days where I wouldn’t get out of bed or would isolate myself. I had gotten tired of feeling this way so I had done my research and gotten the help I needed to better myself in so many ways. Being able to feel better in the mornings and overall is an amazing feeling and my goal is to help others around me who have felt the same way. I believe a passion project was an amazing start to help me succeed in my goal.

At the beginning of my project, I made a survey asking my classmates multiple questions through a Google Form about how I can help to give an understanding and what topics I can explore. From the survey, 65 people out of the 83 responses have or know someone with anxiety. Following that is 43 people who have or know someone with depression. Lower numbers of people had or knew someone who had PTSD or OCD. I will try my best to focus on the subjects with higher numbers; however, I will still incorporate the two subjects.

The second question I asked was, “What mental health topics would you like to learn more about?” The options included “self-awareness, self-love, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making.” The most chosen topic was self-love. Next came self-management, relationship skills, responsible decision-making, self-awareness, and social awareness. All the numbers were close together. As a result, I will incorporate all of them as much as I can. 

Coping strategies are very important when it comes to mental health. The most chosen subjects would be distraction and self-soothing. I will also go over emotional awareness, mindfulness, opposite action, and crisis plan. They were all pretty close in numbers; however, all of these topics would be good to know. 

I had left the option for people to enter any information they’d like for me to also include and I received some amazing responses. Someone had asked me to include how mental health is portrayed on social media and the pros and cons of it, as well as how the pandemic has affected people. An important one I came across was how to help someone or themselves with suicidal thoughts and how to intervene when they notice someone is self-harming. Other students also wanted to know how to pick up on symptoms of mental illness and when to talk to someone and get help.

Thank you to everyone who helped me gain this information. I hope to keep learning more and to begin to spread awareness. 

Neveah Perla is a freshman at La Quinta High School who listens to a man who sings about fruit, and likes to spread positivity.