Mental health is a topic I’ve always been very aware of. Growing up surrounded with struggle has taught me a lot about empathy. Understanding how one is feeling and feeling that as if it’s your own pain is not a foreign concept. I first started going to therapy around third grade. My parents divorced when I was three and I had been aiming to not have any visitation with my paternal figure as far back as I could grasp such an idea. We thought talking to a professional might help me overcome the fear I felt that was holding me back from having the living situations I longed for.
Unfortunately, this specific therapist didn’t end up working for me, so I stopped going. I struggled for two more years until I found the courage to use my voice to advocate for myself and decide for myself how I had to live. As I got older and I experienced harder and harder feats, the stress, anxiety, and confusion built.
I’ve jumped between different therapists a few times, and I tried to just “handle” it myself. Some aren’t as fortunate as I was. Even though we have limitations financially, I have someone looking out for me, making sure I have access to the support I need, whatever the case is. Not everyone, especially teens, are fortunate enough which is why I find it to be so extremely important that schools offer the proper resources to help their students. School is a neutral environment that every child must attend. If we have administration who can give them the support they need that they may not receive at home, we will notice a huge shift in our next generation’s mental health.
Olive Luniewski is a 14-year-old Hamburg High School (HHS) freshman. She holds the Freshman Ambassador appointed position at HHS. She is a pre-professional dancer studying at The Future Dance Center, beginning at age 4. She travels and receives recognition for her talent. In addition, she has participated in Tae Kwon Do, soccer, and basketball. She serves as a chairperson for the second year of the Hamburg Coalition for Equity and Inclusion, run as a student-led club at HHS. She also is a member of Youth Alliance for Education run by UB. She participates in Nature Club. Olive is dedicated to being a voice for peers who need her.
Olive will be a panelist for the Facebook Live on January 19, The State of Stigma: Keeping Communication Channels Open for High School Students from 12pm to 1 pm.