Hey! My name is Vallika Chitkara. I’m a junior at Coppell High School and I enjoy baking and talking to others.
You used to be on Revive’s communications team. What made you gain interest in mental health?
“Mental health has always been something I believe needs to be more spotlighted. Apart from the fact that there is very little conversation about it in the real world, I feel as though there should be more information and acceptance available. Mental health, ultimately, affects us in more ways than we can tell, and being able to recognize and empathize with these connections will benefit us all.“
Why do you think the stigma around mental health is so heightened?
“I believe that it comes from the notion and prejudice around mental health in the past. In a world where productivity is prioritized, we forget that we are all individuals living different lives and dealing with different things. In the past, this was completely disregarded and mental health was something that the general public didn’t pay much attention to. For children from immigrant parents, mental health wasn’t even a conversation in the household. There was this prejudice surrounding mental health that it was about just “feelings”.“
How do you deal with your own mental health?
“I like talking about it, and when I don’t, I like to take time for myself. I have people around me who I am comfortable sharing things and feelings with.“
What do you think schools can do to be more understanding towards students with psychological conditions?
“There should be more acceptance and conversation. You rarely hear about positive relationships between teachers and students, and teachers understanding what their students are going through. There should be more transparency and teachers should spend more time knowing their students so that they can teach better and reach their students easier.“
Other than mental health, what other global issues interest you?
“I’m planning on going into medicine, so global issues regarding illnesses and their relations with the political atmospheres of specific countries is something I find myself quite interested in.“
Would you say you are a person that people share their feelings easily with?
“Yes. I’m big on empathy so I find myself someone who never minds listening to people’s problems and thoughts.“
What self-care practices would you recommend doing?
“Something that I do when I’m upset is put on some music that I really enjoy and dance around my room. I create a safe atmosphere for myself and just dance out my feelings. Sometimes I’ll have a mirror in front of myself and just try feeling confident as I do so.”
Do you believe that you have a good support system?
“I think I’ve worked my way into a good support system. My parents were never the type to see the importance in mental health, but I’ve talked to them over the years and educated them on the more psychological approach that mental health takes and they’ve become a big support system in my life.“
What does mental health mean to you?
“It’s more than just feelings. It’s the recognition an individual takes to understand how they feel and then how they deal with it.“