Talking Mental Health With Maya Nicholson

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What does mental health mean to you?

It’s the overall idea of being healthy. Because the mind and body work together, I see the psyche as an organ too, that you have to take care off.

What does school teach you about mental health?

Ya, my school does actually a really good job of educating us on mental health, we have resources= to go to if we need help. I'm in so grateful to be able to give these resources because the effects that children face when they don't have an outlet to talk about their feelings is so so negative.

How does it feel when people disregard mental health?

It's extremely disheartening. You come up to someone in an extremely vulnerable state, and when people brush you off when you're reaching out to them it's the worse.

Why do you think mental health has become such a taboo subject?

You know kids are always saying “I want to kill myself” “I want to slit my wrists” we constantly joke about these things, and totally disregard that it might actually be happening to someone. We've effectivly normalized it, which in tune makes poeple disregard it. 

How is metal heath represented in the media?

Social media is incredible, but it's also very destructive. Take 13 reasons why, a lot of people felt that they romanticized suicide, or added too much detail. And i think we need to be careful when we dabble in the media and mental health, it's an extremely sensitive subject, we want to empower youth through the film, not make them more insecure.

What's your mental health's story

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Currently, I’ve been diagnosed with three, depression, anxiety, and PTSD. It started in the 8th grade. My dad had an existent, my parents got divorced, and my grandpa passed away. Its been two years since these events occurred and I still deal with them every day. You know they were one point in grade 9 when I didn't get out of bed for 1 month. It was extremely difficult, I was a victim of self-harm, I tried to commit suicide twice. But the people you sound yourself with is the most important thing. I feel so much better now, and am working on things.

How did your mindset shift when you were diagnosed?

Well, I got diagnosed on my sister's Birthday which was kinda fucked up. I remember feeling validated and hopeful. The diagnosis was a turning point for me, in a sick way it was comforting for me to know that “yes” I have these things, and now I know how to work through them.

Do you feel trapped by the labels of mental health?

Yes for sure. Even if I go to the doctor for a common cold, they treat me differently because I've struggled with mental health. It's sort of disheartening. I don't feel I need the label anymore, I've lived through this and I've come out of it.

What coping mechanism helped you?

Music was an anchor for me. Anxiety used to control my life, there is never a full on solution. But creating environments that are safe is the most important thing.

What do you have to say to other girls going through mental health problems?

Stay strong. You might feel like everyone around you doesn't care, or that you're not normal, but trust in your friends, try to be open. If someone, in particular, is putting your mental health at risk, FUCK them, no one can make you feel inferior, you are your own person. In the end, you need to be your number one cheerleader.

words: lightly edited for length and clarity

Images: courtesy