I recently started an Erika’s Lighthouse Teen Club at my school. Since the club’s first meeting, my friends and I have discussed and explored many mental health topics, such as stress management and art therapy! The club and I are very excited about all of our meetings in the upcoming year.

Why did you want to start and lead a club like this?

When the current pandemic first took storm, I found myself struggling with my mental health mostly because staying in quarantine was such an adverse and tumultuous time. Once school started, I wanted to help my classmates, who were also dealing with mental health struggles, which inspired me to establish an Erika’s Lighthouse club at my school. Through this club, my classmates and I have found a safe space to express ourselves and help break down the stigma surrounding mental health.

What are your goals for the club this year?

Our main goal for this year is to create a mental health wall in our school! Through this project, we hope to spread positivity and kindness to everyone who walks past our wall. Also, the club and I are aiming to recruit more members and plan our first fundraiser. With the new year on the rise, we are looking forward to accomplishing all our club goals.

Why is mental health important to you?

As someone who has struggled with mental health, I have realized the importance of self-care and kindness. Without balanced mental health, I would find it difficult to focus on the other aspects of my life, such as school and extracurriculars, which is why I treasure working on my mental health. Though there is still a stigma attached to mental health issues, I am undoubtedly committed to helping break down this barrier and making sure that no one ever feels alone.

Erika’s Lighthouse has had such a positive impact on me, my classmates, and my school, and I am so grateful for the opportunities and knowledge this club has given me. Raising awareness for mental health will always remain close to my heart, and I can’t wait to continue my journey with Erika’s Lighthouse.

Author: Gowri Rangu, Junior at Longview High School, Longview, TX