Jadyn and Shae – Students at Western Canada High School
Recently, I had the opportunity to interview twin sisters, Jadyn and Shae. They are currently in grade ten at Western Canada and are advocates for mental health awareness. There will be a small amount of talk surrounding suicide and a mention of self-harm. If this triggers you, please do not continue reading.
Why is mental health awareness important to you guys?
Shae – Mental health is a big part of everyone’s life. I think it’s important for people to know not to hold in what they are feeling because if we hold in our emotions we hurt ourselves more. We are causing all of this suffering and pain when it can be prevented by talking about it.
Jadyn – Yes, I agree. I also think it’s important because it plays a huge part in our well-being, it plays a huge part in how we think, and it plays a huge part in how we feel. It can also affect how you interact with others, how you socialize with others and how you treat yourself.
I might be wrong about this, but I think you guys were a part of a program before that was related to mental health?
Jadyn – Yes we were. Two actually. They were called Orenda and Project Nightlight.
What is Orenda?
Shae – Orenda is a group that we were a part of that is designed for teen girls who are struggling with their identities and insecurities. They believe in harnessing the force within you and using it to change the world and your surroundings. They help girls realize that they are good enough, and provide opportunities for people to improve their mental health and cope with their struggles.
What about Project Nightlight?
Jadyn – Project Nightlight is a project focused on breaking the silence surrounding the importance of mental health. They basically interview you and asked how you came out of the darkness that you might have been in or how you or someone close to you has had experience with mental health struggles. They let you talk about how going through that darkness helped you become the person you are today.
What made you become advocates for mental health in the first place?
Shae – In the very beginning, our mom wanted us to do a camp at Orenda because she knew the owner, so we did. I guess the bigger part was that we were having conflicts with friends and were struggling at the time.
Jadyn – Yes, and we were losing sight of what was important and didn’t know ourselves anymore. When we were at Orenda, they introduced us to Project Nightlight, which wanted to interview us on our mental health story.
What do you think the biggest issues surrounding the mental health stigma are?
Jadyn – We as humans don’t talk about it as much as we should and whenever it comes up we get uncomfortable. I don’t think we realize that it is a huge thing that affects every single person. Everyone has this idea of a perfect world where everything is amazing, and there is this illusion that everyone is happy but that’s not always true.
Shae – Let’s say you were diagnosed with depression. You feel like you can’t talk about it because people around you expect you to behave as if you don’t have depression. It’s like people expect you to seem fine when you are not.
Jadyn – People always think it’s easy to be happy. But it’s not. Depression, among other mental health illnesses, actually affect your brain and the chemicals in it, so often you can’t be happy just like that.
Do you guys have any advice for people?
Jadyn – If you are struggling with your mental health, try to talk to someone. A therapist, a counsellor, anyone you feel comfortable talking to. It can really help.
Shae – I think people brush off how important their mental health is. We can’t do that. If you are struggling, try to say something. This is about yourself and you getting better.
Are there any stories that you would like to share?
Shae – Our sister was diagnosed with depression and anxiety at 13. She would cut herself and hurt herself a lot. I think that witnessing that when I was young – about 7- had a big impact on me. At the time, I didn’t understand why someone would purposely hurt themselves in that way, but people do it because they are in so much pain that they need a different way to cope with it.
Jadyn – Our sister let it get to the point where she didn’t talk to anybody and tried to kill herself multiple times because of her depression and how unhappy she was. It should never get to that point, which is why it’s so important to make sure you and everyone around you is okay.
Anything to end?
Shae – Some inspirational words you should all hear- You are worth it.