WATCH — Teen uses Instagram to help kids with mental health during COVID-19

Story by CBC Kids News • 2020-10-16 15:02

Mia Gill wants kids to know how they can get help

This year, while she was seeing the world change because of the pandemic, Mia Gill started encouraging people to take care of their own mental health.

“Now more than ever we need to stay connected to each other,” said Mia, who is in Grade 11 and is from Abbotsford, British Columbia.

Mia, 16, started a new Instagram account, mentalhealth4youth.

The page gives tips on how to help someone who is struggling. It also has advice on taking care of yourself during the pandemic.

The account started as a project after Mia was part of the Youth Ambassador Program in Canada, which helps young people develop their leadership skills so they can make a difference in their communities.

She wants to pass on advice to other kids, so she does research, talks to experts and shares tips for dealing with stress or hard feelings on her Instagram account.

Mia says she uses credible sources like university studies and government websites, and takes that research to experts to make sure it's legit.

She also shows it to kids to see how they feel about it before she designs the posts.

What’s it like to go to school during a pandemic? Check out Mia’s video here:

Taking her own advice

With more stresses in her life because of the pandemic, Mia says she has been taking care of her own mental health.

She makes an effort to spend time outside and has physically distanced meetups with friends.

Mia’s learning to adapt to her new school experience.

Her class schedule is different now. She takes two intensive classes each day for 10 weeks, and after that, she’ll study something new.

“I do appreciate all the efforts my school has put into making it safe for us. It is just really bizarre,” said Mia.

“One thing that the pandemic has taught me is that I really cannot expect or predict what’s going to happen in the future,” she said.

“I just kind of learned to roll with the punches.”

over the shoulder shot of a teen cooking

The only class Mia is currently taking in person is foods. She doesn’t need to wear a mask in class because she’s always with the same cohort. (Image submitted by Mia Gill)

Now, she and her friends share tips on their favourite hand sanitizer scents.

“We have a lot of different conversations these days, but it feels all right.”

A group of teens

Mia misses seeing all her friends at school, but has become close with the kids in her cohort. (Image submitted by Mia Gill)

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