During Mental Health Month we put out the call…and you all delivered! We’re proud to unveil the winning design from the 2017 Active Minds T-shirt Design Contest, inspired by original artwork from 14-year-old mental health advocate, Mya, of Chicago, IL!
About her design:
“I was inspired by something Wentworth Miller said on the Internet; and since he is your Ambassador, I thought he might be willing to share his message of hope. Everyone—especially someone who thinks they can’t keep on living—needs to know that they can. They can endure. They can persist. They can survive.“
We interview Mya to learn more about why she was so inspired by Wentworth’s quote and what it means to her. Read on to learn more!
Location: Chicago, IL
School: Chicago Academy High School
How did you hear about Active Minds?
I heard about it from my Grams.
Why did you select this Wentworth Miller quote and what does it mean to you?
I admire Wentworth Miller. I started to admire the actor when my Mom and I watched him in The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow, so I looked for some other of his work. I started to admire the person when my Grams told me about the work he’s been doing to help people, because one of Mr. Miller’s speeches made a friend who’s very important to her realize that his (the friend’s) behavior was suicidal and he needed and could ask for help, which he did. I too have had a few friends who suffered from deadly depression, and I’m behind anyone who’s there to help them. I have commented on Mr. Miller’s Facebook page a few times, and read the article he wrote there that the quote came from. I was surprised you hadn’t seen it. My Grams had dandelion art from her latest book cover, which she helped me modify so it would be unique for my contest entry. And since Mr. Miller is one of your Mental Health Ambassadors, I thought he might be willing to let you use his quote as a message of hope. Everyone—especially someone who thinks they can’t keep on living—needs to know that they can. They can ask for help. With that help, they can endure. They can persist. They can survive. They can be alive.
What’s something you wish more people understood about mental health?
That mental illness is real. Anyone can suffer from it, man or woman, young or old, of any race, from a homeless person to a billionaire. And anyway, isn’t mental illness really a type of physical illness, because our brain is part of our body? We’re not shamed when we have an allergy or catch the flu or break a bone (all of which I’ve done), so no one should be shamed over mental illness, either. But there is help if they just know to ask for it. And like with any illness they could catch, with help they have a chance to also “catch” good health, physical and mental.
What do you like to do for fun?
I really enjoy doing cosplay at anime conventions, designing my own costumes and make-up. Besides character make-up, I’ve also been learning glam make-up, like the “Blue Glam” look in my photo. I have always been interested in designing clothes, which is why I was excited about designing something for your contest. With the prize, I plan to give a little back to Active Minds as a contribution, and then use the rest for some anime wigs I want.
What’s something people would be surprised to discover about you?
Well, my friends will be surprised to discover I won this contest…because I sure was. But really, people might be surprised I can already handle a jet ski by myself and have a license, because my Dad taught me out on Lake Michigan.
The 2017 Limited Edition T-shirt is only on sale for three weeks! You can purchase yours HERE.