Conversations about Mental Health through
Hope, Optimism, and Service to Others
The Priscilla E. Fredrick Foundation
2019 Wildwood High School Graduate
Stockton University Student
The Step Back Foundation
Discussion Moderator Joe Faldetta, Director of Prevention at Cape Assist
Part I - Introductions
Part II - Redefining Success
Part IV - Be The Change
Part III - Pressure of Compression
Part V - Student Questions
Additional Questions by Lower Cape May Regional High School Peer Leaders
Question: What does mental health truly mean to you?
Maddie: Being that I have struggled with mental health for a long time, this is a very important subject to me. Mental health determines the quality of life that I have. Meaning, if my mental health is good, my life goes great, and if my mental health is not so good, I struggle a little more. However, I have learned over the past couple of years that you can always improve the quality of your life and it is always happy around you. You just have to open your eyes and recognize the things that are there to make you happy. For me, happiness means spending time with my family, going outside, going on a run, watching the sunrise/sunset, talking with strangers, making new friends, forming relationships with people, working hard in school, journaling, planning, working out, etc. Appreciating what you have all around you makes you happy. Happiness is all around you. It is there when you wake up and when you go to sleep! Recognize the joys of life.
Priscilla: Nothing survives and thrives unless it’s healthy. Mental health is a major key to overall health. Mental health is something I have had to work on daily, but it allows me to be the best version of myself!
Question: What do you do when you feel you mentally aren't ok?
Maddie: When I am not feeling my best mentally, I try to self-reflect and recognize if there is anything that I can do to feel better. I often journal and write down whatever comes to my head. This helps me become more self-aware and then I am able to better pinpoint what it is that is making me upset/anxious. The first step to making yourself feel better is recognizing what needs to change. After doing this, I am more aware of who/what I want in my life and why. I also enjoy planning because this helps me be more productive. And for me, the more productive I am, the happier and more content I feel.
Question: What is your favorite mental health exercise?
Maddie: My favorite mental health exercise would be either journaling or planning. Writing down my thoughts allows me to better understand what I am feeling and better yet, why I am feeling the way I am feeling. I also feel more self-aware and better able to control my emotions. Planning also allows me to feel more in control of my life and allows me to be more productive. These both ease my anxiety.
Priscilla: Dancing. When I need a break, or I feel overwhelmed I dance it out! No matter where I am, it makes me smile, makes others laugh and it releases the stress.
Question: What keeps you going when you're feeling unmotivated?
Maddie: What keeps me going when I’m feeling unmotivated are the possibilities and opportunities that I know are out there. One of the mottos I live by is: Work hard and be nice to people. Meaning, if you do your best and are kind, I truly believe that good things will happen. So when things get tough, I just remember that there are always miracles all around us and it starts with being a good person! Keep pushing and it will work out as it should.
Priscilla: Knowing that it won’t last. There are going to be moments of sadness or hardship but I know they won’t last long. Things will always get better if I work really hard and stay kind to others and myself. I want to change the world for the better, so I keep going and focus on my blessings!
Question: What is the most important thing that you want people to know?
Priscilla: Everyone is wonderfully made, life is beautiful and you matter.
Question: What superpower would you choose?
Maddie: If I could choose a superpower, it would probably be the ability to be invisible. If I could disappear and still be able to listen to what is going on, I could gain so much knowledge. However, this also scares me that I might hear something I wasn’t supposed to hear that might make me sad or hurt my feelings (haha). But I also just think it would be really cool to be present but not visible. What an advantage!
Priscilla: Teleportation/ super strength.