The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


Xavier students destigmatize mental health

According to Adolescent Wellness Academy, 1 in 5 teens from ages 12-18 have a mental health disorder. This statistic was among one of the many reasons why junior Audrey Frevola was inspired to start the organization “Teens for Mental Health” or “T4MH,” with the goal to destigmatize mental health.

The first event for Teens for Mental Health or “T4MH” was held at a Paradise Valley household on Friday, April 12 in the afternoon. Attendees enjoyed writing inspiring messages on pieces of paper cut out to form butterflies which were later hung on trees. (Jane Burkhardt)

Having struggled with her mental health in the past, Frevola was disappointed with the lack of resources provided to teens, specifically girls. 

“The stigma around mental health is what inhibits people from talking about it, and by avoiding it they are ultimately carrying the weight of their mental challenges,” Frevola said. 

Junior at Xavier College Preparatory, Megan Torres, notes that stigma surrounding mental health is often passed down from older generations. “We want to bring about that change to improve the future,” said Torres.  

Frevola isn’t a licensed psychologist, yet she is still determined to bring about next-level aid to teens struggling with mental health. Frevola and her friends decided the best way to connect with struggling teens was to get speakers for their first educational seminar. 

With the help of Jill Peterson and Mary Frances from Girls Mentorship, Frevola and her team were confident that their event would be a success.  

Corrine Ladha, junior at Xavier, stresses the importance of connecting with other people, “Mental health is more normalized on social media, but I find it’s harder to talk about it with peers. What we’re doing is so cool because we are holding in-person events and are talking to our community in and outside of Xavier.” 

  Peterson and Frances strive to foster confidence and promote self-awareness for teen girls by providing resources and speaking at events. They utilize social media to promote their summer programs and helpful life advice, and they even appeared on the Arizona Daily Mix.

Peterson wants girls to acknowledge that mental illnesses don’t define them.“Our illnesses aren’t our identity. We don’t want to wear them like a jacket,” said Peterson at the first Teens for Mental Health event.

Before the speakers began talking, the T4MH team organized a craft that involved taking butterfly shaped pieces of paper and writing inspirational messages on them. At the end of the hour-and-a-half event, each girl took home a note with a physical reminder of their individual importance and uniqueness.

Frevola and Girls Mentorship provided a way to make a positive impact on those struggling with poor mental health. “Being more raw and genuine on social media will be helpful because when I go on social media, I know that after I close the app, I often feel like their lives are so much better than mine,” said Frevola. 

Junior T4MH member Raevyn Looper adds, “You don’t see what people are struggling with. You may see that some people are popular and hang out with their friends a lot and [outsiders] make the assumption that [these people] don’t have any problems. Getting together at in-person events helps us learn that we all have a common issue.”

Looper wants to view mental health as something that unites people rather than driving them away from each other.

T4MH is looking to expand its organization and get as many people involved as possible, while also acknowledging the difficulties of being teenagers. “It’s hard to be taken seriously. We have a lot of big ideas that we want to share but we’re 16 and 17 and it’s not something a lot of bigger businesses are interested in. It’s been difficult to find people to help us,” Looper said. 

As for the future of the organization, Frevola hopes to pass down T4MH to rising Xavier seniors and keep it alive. “It would be a great tradition because we don’t have a mental health club at Xavier,” said Frevola. 

The future for mental health awareness is bright, and organizations like Girls Mentorship and Teens for Mental Health are paving the way for teens to get more comfortable advocating for themselves and those who may be struggling with mental health. 

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    AleksiaApr 26, 2024 at 6:50 pm

    So interesting!! ❤️