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Carly Dean – Student at Western Canada High School

The subject of this interview is Carly Dean, a twelfth grade student, born and raised in Calgary. A successful athlete, partial IB student with two of the hardest higher level subjects, and one of the most outgoing people you will ever meet, most are surprised when they find out that she’s been struggling with anxiety throughout high school. But that has never stopped her from striving for greatness. In this interview Carly talks about her experience with mental health, and what steps helped her through her journey. 

Q: Why is mental health important to you? 

A: Throughout high school I’ve struggled personally with anxiety, the pressure to be successful and balance everything in my life becoming especially overwhelming. At the start I felt so alone, like I was the only one who felt this panic. But when I started to talk about it with my friends and family, I realized I wasn’t the only one who felt this way, there were others who understood and could empathize or at least sympathize with what I was going through. Mental health is important to me because I know how hard it can be to go through it alone, and I’m glad I get to help my friends through it. 

Q: Why do you think there aren’t more people talking about mental health?

A: Mental health is underplayed, especially in the IB. In a community where grades are prioritized, stress is almost glorified. Most students in the IB don’t take the ramifications of ignoring mental health seriously, at least not in front of their peers.

Q: What has helped you with your personal struggles with mental health? What advice would you give to others in a similar situation? 

A: For me, exercise and taking breaks has been a huge part of me living with my anxiety. Although competitive sports have added to my stress, talking a walk every once in a while or even just taking time to pause, look away from the school or the rest of the world and spend time by myself. For those going through mental health struggles right now, I’d suggest for them to talk to the people they love and trust. I know it might be hard now, but having others help you go through it can be really beneficial