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  • Writer's pictureBeltsville News

Local Teen Advocates for Global Mental Health By Chloe Mshana

Chloe Mshana, a sixteen-year-old mental health advocate from Beltsville.

Chloe Mshana, a Beltsville teenager, has spent the past year sharing mental health reminders with the global digital community. Through her advocacy, she has improved her own mental health and helped thousands of others. She now hopes to share some of her insights with the local community.

Two years ago, Chloe was a nationally ranked debater, captain of her middle school’s science bowl team, and a straight-A student. Like many people, she measured her life in productivity. Although she was extremely productive, she was mentally and physically exhausted. She began to isolate herself from her family and experience eye strain due to her continuous online research. By the end of the school year, she had lost enthusiasm for her passions. She was facing burnout, or extreme exhaustion due to prolonged stress.

As Chloe began her freshman year of high school, she impulsively created a new Instagram account and named it @mentalitymasterpiece. Originally, this was a space for her to share fascinating facts about human psychology. However, the pandemic changed her goals. Chloe recognized the mental health struggles many were facing due to the stay-at-home policies. Isolation from loved ones, fear of the future, and many more extenuating circumstances greatly affected people’s mental health. Suddenly, this Instagram page became a space to share mental health reminders.

When Chloe was feeling stressed, she researched and shared the advice she needed to hear. She would tell others the importance of taking a break: The brain needs to rest after a long day. In fact, rest itself could be productive since it is often easier to focus and make decisions with a clear head. Chloe would also encourage others to ask for help when needed. Asking for help was not a weakness, but rather a sign of self-awareness and a desire to grow. Chloe practiced self-reflection and shared advice about topics beyond stress, including the importance of boundaries, the necessity of kindness, and much more.

Although she did not realize it at the time, Chloe began to internalize these messages. Just a few months of sharing these positive messages had radically shifted her self-perception and outlook on life. She no longer viewed productivity as her ultimate purpose. Instead, Chloe allowed herself to enjoy life beyond her time spent at a computer screen. She spent hours playing with her three younger siblings, just as they did when they were younger. She was productive, but also took healthy breaks. She allowed herself to truly live.

Today, Chloe is much healthier and happier than she once was. While life is stressful at times, she now knows strategies to effectively cope. She is still learning and growing just like everyone else. Chloe takes each day as it comes and tries to learn something daily. To date, she has created over 100 mental health graphics and continues to share her daily insights on her Instagram account, @mentalitymasterpiece. Despite all that she has learned, Chloe is not a mental health professional. She encourages everyone to first seek professional help. There is absolutely no shame in asking for help. To all readers, your mental health matters. You matter.

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