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Posted: May 3, 2021

Selfless Senior Spotlight: Maura Johnson

Maura Johnson of La Cueva High School

"Teen suicide and depression are major issues in New Mexico. I, like so many of my peers, have struggled with mental health. I was lucky enough to find my way out of this darkness, but I know many of my peers are not so lucky. Given that I know how devastating the suicide of a teen can be on an entire community, I decided to use my voice to help others. Mental health is a wide spectrum and taking care of your mental health starts with little things such as self-care. In fact, recognizing when you need a break is one of the first steps to taking ownership of your mental health. This idea is what inspired me to reach out to New Mexico legislators with hopes of passing a bill that would allow for mental health absence days in schools. Sometimes, the pressures of school can put more stress on teens who are already drowning. Mental health is just health, and if students can take days off of school to focus on their physical health, they should be able to take days to focus on their mental health too. It wasn't easy finding the courage to speak up about the issues that I saw in my community, but I hope that I can inspire my peers and friends to do the same as well. The more we unite together as students, the harder we will be to ignore. We have to come together and help each other out. The only way to make real change is to do it together. So, I encourage anybody who is reading this to use your voice. Your voice is your biggest weapon! Do not take that for granted.

When I graduate from high school, my hope for Albuquerque is that students feel brave enough to lean on each other, ask for help when they need it, learn self-care strategies, and, most importantly, speak out when necessary.”

Tags: Core Schools