Mental health seems to be an issue just coming to the surface in lives today, especially for teenage girls. In busy lives surrounded by sports, school, friends and extracurriculars, mental health is often pushed to the side. Jenna Hansen ‘20 founded the organization, 4Teen24, to battle this issue not only at Ursuline, but anywhere else.
4Teen24 is a nonprofit organization that helps bring awareness and aid to the social and emotional well being of teenagers. The organization, based in Dallas, is dedicated to bringing attention to mental illnesses and teaching teenagers how to cope and prevent them.
In an email questionnaire, Hansen opened up about the background of her organization and what mental health means to her. Her inspiration for starting 4Teen24 sparked when she realized how few resources were available to inform teenagers on mental health.
Hansen noticed that after “many people appeared to be struggling with their own mental health, [she] felt as though something needed to be done to help out.”
After meeting with some local mental health organizations, she launched 4Teen24. Complete with an inspirational Instagram and a website with posts and resources, her organization educates people about the importance of taking care of their mental health.
The meaning behind the name, 4Teen24, is very significant. The name was based on the statistic, that by the age of 14, 50% of mental illnesses will have developed and by age 24, 75% will have developed. And Hansen places a large emphasis on teenagers, because they are living out the statistic right now and need the most education and resources on the issue.
Hansen said, “As high schoolers, we often overlook the importance of taking care of ourselves when we have so many other things to manage like school, friends, extracurriculars and more.”
The hope is that 4Teen24 helps everyone it reaches to feel more comfortable with their mental health and to learn how to manage their mental health in the most effective ways.
At the heart of it, Hansen believes the most important aspects of mental health are awareness and learning. Once teenagers become aware of their feelings, it is easier to learn about how to deal with them instead of bottling them up.
4Teen24 provides resources to help teenagers understand how or when they may need help or are struggling. And, even when teenagers are not struggling themselves, 4Teen24 stresses the importance of learning how to assist friends or peers in need.
“By opening up to someone you trust, you take part in helping yourself access the care that you need and understand how you are feeling, and you also take part in breaking the stigma surrounding the topic which will help so many others!” Hansen said.
Specifically, to Ursuline girls, Hansen stresses the importance of self-care. “Though sometimes it feels like there is no time to take care of ourselves, it is so important that we find time to listen to our thoughts and feelings,” she said.
Self-care can be very simple and can be anything that facilitates relaxation, gathering of thoughts, and feel-good emotions. When stress starts to add up, taking even a few minutes to meditate or close the eyes is both calming and prevents possible breakdowns. Of course, ample amounts of sleep always keep Ursuline girls, and teenagers in general, happier.
For Ursuline athletes, Hansen posted the article “The Mental Game: How Mental Illness Affects Athletes” on 4Teen24’s website. In it she sheds light on the pressures of being a high school athlete and how athletes often place their mental health second to sports.
As 4Teen24 continues to grow, in the future Hansen hopes to plan an event for female athletes to focus on body positivity. She cannot wait to watch 4Teen24 gain a greater following, reach more people’s lives and collaborate with more people.
Ursuline girls’ activities and lives rely on their mental health to keep going. 4Teen24 is an exceptional resource for teenagers to learn about mental health and the healthiest ways to cope with the stresses that life causes.
Hansen has worked a tremendous amount to launch 4Teen24 and to continue to spread positivity throughout Ursuline and the other people she reaches. To get in touch with your mental health or to see inspirational content follow @4teen24_ on Instagram and explore her website www.4teen24.org.
Image courtesy of 4teen24