2018 PSNM Scholarship Winner presented by co-founder, Tristan Coaldrake.
Megan plans on attending The University of Iowa, where she will major in psychology and eventually go on to medical school to become a psychiatrist. Thank you to all of our wonderful applicants!
Problem & Mission
National preventative and educational programs have fallen short of representing individual towns like Johnston where the statistics don’t reflect the reality of their toll on the community. Unquantifiable factors are the leading cause of suicide in these unaddressed areas, but the national organizations can't explore the roots of such components from the 1000-foot view to which they're restricted by scant resources. Thus the need for community-oriented, highly-specialized (arguably suburbanized) programs is conceived.
With this logic in mind, many other nonprofit organizations have been founded to combat the same issues. We've talked with administrators and leaders in the Johnston Community School District, and their outstanding efforts have inspired us to partner with them to develop the right plan of attack for normalizing the conversation. We're appreciative of what has already been done, and excited for what will come.
We envision a Johnston that (1) understands mental health - both in a scientific and practical sense; (2) boasts strong public support for district-wide innovation; and (3) creates, as one community and school district, a comprehensive social strategy to engage in the most effective preventative programs at our disposal.
Our overarching goal is to change the tone of mental health through developing certain structures, events, technologies, and other instruments that effectively guide the conversation about suicide and depression in a scalable and replicable manner.
Chip away at the stigma.
Collaborate with community leaders, Johnston school district staff, and other non profit organizations throughout the area to address mental health curriculum in schools.
Show that everyone has experienced depression or a depressive spell at some point.
Prevent more kids from completing suicide.
"May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”
Motivation & Philosophy
Depression or a period of depression is extremely common, especially among teenagers. There are so many challenges that high school students face that are unique to their experience, yet are too often overshadowed by societal expectations, thus creating an environment in which too few people allow their true struggle to surface.
It starts with the perception.
"When someone breaks an arm, everyone runs over to sign their cast. But when someone says that they're depressed, everyone runs away in fear."
We want people to be able to talk openly about mental health, as well as feel unashamed to seek out professional help. We want to end this perception, and normalize the conversation. It’s foolish to think that someone who is depressed is of a lesser capability in any sense. If you can’t talk about your mindset and address it head-on, you can’t come close to understanding how to get better, or even how to manage your thoughts. Introspection is most effectively achieved when paired with external projection. But that projection fails to surface when those who are depressed think that talking about how they feel will chip away at their reputation. Talk. Please talk. Do not be afraid to share your emotions. Do not be afraid to say what’s hurting and why. You are strong, and depression can’t take that from you. It can’t make you any less of a person.
Join us to help normalize the conversation.