Interviewed by Sania Ahmad.
You attended Revive’s anti-bullying conference. What does bullying mean to you?
Bullying means to me is making threats, physically attacking a person, spreading rumors, or verbally assaulting another person. I’ve been bullied throughout my entire life and I was apart of Cancel Culture this year and that was the most uncomfortable situation I’ve ever been in. Back in January of this year, I was posting on Tik Tik almost every day and there were hate comments and fake accounts made about me and that hurt my feelings, then in June when Black Lives Matter was becoming a worldwide issue I was talking about it and then I was getting attacked for speaking up about it and other social justice issues as well. There was a petition made about me saying “Cancelling Joshua Jones” and it had 48 signatures and 60 supporters and I was receiving death threats and hate messages. Next in July, I was shadowbanned on Instagram, and my old main account joshuajones._ was temporarily locked and I couldn’t log back in. I reached out to Instagram and they haven’t responded. Now in August, this was towards the end I decided to take the knee for the pledge, record myself doing it, and post about it on my Instagram story on my new main account and I was receiving tons of hate messages and death threats. I did get some positive messages from my friends. Afterward, there was a tea page account about my school and it involved me and my friends. They were posting people’s private information that shouldn’t be out there and brought up stuff from the past. Then in October, I was sitting down during the National Anthem, and someone said “F Joshua Jones and if I see him do it I would kick him in the face.” Someone told me about that as well and I made a post about it and someone left me a hate comment. Finally, in December, I was in my school’s newspaper and someone reached out to me saying 5 people are looking to beat you up in the bathroom if they saw me walking me in an instant heartbeat.
Why do you think the stigma around mental health is so heightened?
The stigma around mental health is so heightened because it’s not receiving enough attention. Also, it has to do with these things:
- Social media pressure
- Reduced face-to-face interactions and social supports
- The breakdown of the family unit
- Sexual orientation confusion
- Gender confusion
- Being exposed to a multitude of opinions (on TV and online)
- Being exposed to aggressive behavior (a dramatic rise in child abuse, adult abuse, sexual abuse, etc.)
- Poor/reduced sleep
Those things can cause a level of difficulty in our health, both psychologically and emotionally. It can prevent suicide as well. But based on how society got here, and where it’s currently headed, it’s unlikely we’ll see a positive change anytime soon. The expectation is that things will get much worse. So, the best we can do is seek mental health support from the available resources and then work at making families healthy one person at a time.
How do you deal with your mental health?
During quarantine and this year, it was such a priority for me. I was dealing with social media burnouts because I was apart of Cancel Culture. My physical, mental, and social health are important during this time because I get to be more aware of how I’m handling my daily activities and also myself. My physical shows I’m trying to get things done throughout the day like work and school. My mind shows how I handle things and control my actions. Social shows how I’m treating people with respect, but keeping my distance. This is a terrible time for all of us but I know one thing is that we just got to fight together. After all, this is over I’ll make sure not to take anything for granted. What I’ll learn from this hard time is to appreciate the small things in my life, and be grateful for what I have.
What do you think schools can do to be more understanding of students with psychological conditions?
Start talking about it, Create a safe space, Support for all, Make sure teachers know how to help, and Recognize that it takes a village. Looking after children’s mental health isn’t just something that can be done on a small scale, it involves a shift in the way everyone not only works together but also communicates on issues.
Other than mental health, what other global issues interest you?
- Voting Rights
- Racial Injustice
- everything that has to do with Human Rights in general.
Would you say you are a person that people share their feelings easily with?
For me, it depends on who I talk to. So yes I do share my feelings however it just has to be the right people for me. It’s usually my friends I talk to the most.
What self-care practices would you recommend doing?
- Watch Netflix
- Happy Hour (Free Hour Time Break)
- Volunteer virtually
- Listening to music
- Talking to my friends
Do you believe that you have a good support system?
Yes, 100%!!! My friends are my amazing support system and they helped me a lot in 2020 and I owe it all to them. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here where I am today!!!
What does mental health mean to you?
Mental Health is important to my overall health because it affects how I think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how I handle stress, making choices, etc. According to mentalhealth.gov, it says, “Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.” This suggests my mental will continue to develop throughout my life. Also, if my mental health is in a bad place like with everyday problems then I would get sleep, help others, and stay positive. I know we’re going through a hard time right now but we just gotta remain positive. Overall, I believe my mental health is important because it affects my everyday activities.