‘Seize the Awkward’ is an ad campaign that promotes young adults to speak up about their struggles with mental health, and helps teens start the conversation of “how are you doing?” Falcon students and teachers are encouraged to embrace this campaign and talk about mental health, and help one another through

It is no doubt that teenagers in high school are living completely different lives from past generations, and can therefore be widely misunderstood. In a statistic from 2014, the US experienced 5,079 suicides from ages 15 to 24, making it the second leading cause of death for that age range. Social media in the “teenage society” can control these young adults by making them feel insecure and compare themselves to others and others’ happiness. However, social media based campaigns like Seize the Awkward can be a positive outlet for teens who may be struggling with mental health and serve as a guide for others who want to help. Seize the Awkward is a campaign that specializes in teaching teens how to break the “awkward silence,” and ask a friend if they are doing okay or are in need of help.

Mental health is becoming a much larger talking subject in society thanks to ad campaigns like this. Students, friends, and even social media influencers and celebrities can talk about mental health easier and how to reach out to others.

“An awkward silence can actually be the perfect moment to reach out to a friend and ask if they’re okay if they seem down,” according to the Seize the Awkward campaign.

If you notice someone close to you hasn’t been acting their self lately or has seemed down, Seize the Awkward says reaching out to make sure if someone is okay is incredibly important and “starting the conversation now can keep something much worse from happening.” On their website, the campaign has posted many signs of how you can tell if a friend is in trouble, how you can get the conversation started, and the steps you can take after they have opened up about their problems.

Not only has Seize the Awkward created an easy to use website that helps people in all walks of life, but they have also filmed videos with celebrities and social media influencers to make those who are struggling with mental health to not feel alone. Celebrities like Billie Eilish, Liza Koshy, and Aminé have discussed their mental health with the campaign about not only their journey, but how to open up when others ask how you are doing.

“It doesn’t make you weak to ask for help,” Billie Eilish said in her interview, expressing how other people asking how she is and how they can help has allowed for her heal. Eilish also talked about how “everyone has to help someone if they need it,” stating that anyone can help someone in need just by helping them open up.

Luckily at Timber Creek, students have a great support group, including counselors, teachers and other students. As students, we may think that teachers see us struggling, but that isn’t the truth. Teachers know when students are having a hard time, and then do their best to make sure a student is feeling alright. Using her role as an educator, Algebra II teacher Stephanie Stonebraker is able to reach out to students to make sure they are okay, as well as try to relieve stress on those she may believe are having hard time.

“I think the best way to help students with their mental health is by example. Most students think that teachers have it together from what they can see on the surface, but we struggle, too,” Stonebraker said.

Stonebraker expressed that if she sees students putting themselves down or using negative diction towards themselves when struggling with class materials, she’ll reassure them and that “everyone struggles and the fact that they can articulate what they are struggling with means that they can master it eventually.” She also explained that she aims to be a “reassuring voice” when she sees students stressed, and emphasizes the importance of reaching out when you believe someone may be having a hard time.

“When students miss more than one day in a row, I will message them through Remind and make sure that they are okay. I think it is important to know students are missed when they are gone. We want to see their faces and [know that] they are missed,” Stonebraker said.

If you or a friend are having trouble with mental health, self doubt, or believe you are struggling with depression, please go to the Seize The Awkward website to find tips on how you can help yourself and others. You can also reach out to the counselors on campus by email, filling out a google form, or in person. Always remember to stay healthy and to always reach out to others.

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