Libbe Phan, 17, a Peyton Heart Project Ambassador for Irvine, CA. She will be a Peyton Heart Project ambassador until September 16, 2020. This will be Libbe’s second year as an ambassador for The Peyton Heart Project.
In Libbe’s own words:
Being a part of The Peyton Heart Project Ambassador group has brought lots of joy amongst myself and my community. For my first task last year during the beginning of my school year, I asked my wellness counselor to join her in her suicide prevention talk with Didi Hersh and passed out some blue hearts to share with the students who attended.
This also helped promote to the students my Peyton Heart Project Club that I started later that semester. I was a part of 8th period class that consisted of 12 other students. I took this opportunity when we shared about ourselves on Fridays and passed out hearts while sharing the information with my peers. Every other Monday, I would hold a meeting in a teacher’s room during lunch who supported the cause. Meetings normally consist of informational sessions about volunteer projects related to wellness, heart-making activities, stress relief activities, and education about mental health resources. I
managed to organize a wellness for the holidays collection drive for the homeless shelter in my county and collected stress relief items for custom “self-care boxes” for mental health awareness month in May. I also organized my members to create DIY pins made of Shrinky Dinks to students at our annual holiday food fair that included selling goods for the first time last year. We then used the money to purchase donations for the
self-care box materials. I made an impact with my club this year and I hope to make a greater impact at and beyond school this upcoming year. This is a cause that I am dedicated to advocating [for] and I would like to make the mission of The Peyton Heart Project heard. I love being able to create a support group for students on campus at our meetings and sharing about
a topic that matters to me. I love seeing the hearts hung on students’ backpacks from our events.
This upcoming school year, I hope to plan more events in my community and at school that revolve around funding for other mental health causes and volunteer opportunities related to wellness. I want to improve on my leadership skills so, I will be actively working on these projects to help me do so. It would be an honor to serve again for another year!
In her own words:
Over the course of time from 1999 to 2016, the United State’s suicide rates have increased by 28%. The world has unfortunately lost icons like Robin Williams, Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, and many others due to mental health issues. One in five adults has a mental health issue in the United States. The youth depression rates have increased up to 26% in 2016. The numbers keep going up. We need a way to decrease the numbers to zero by spreading love, help, and hope.
Bullying is a massive issue that continues to be one in our society today. Unfortunately, I have been a witness and have had friends of mine that were victims. In elementary school, there were two people in my 6th grade class. They were constantly bullied every day of the school year and no one stopped it, not even the teacher. This person was given rude names, attacked for every move they made, and criticized for their appearance. A personal friend of mine considered suicide and began self-harming during that same year due to many reasons. But, bullying by peers was one of the main issues. As I entered middle school, things only got worse. With the power of social media, it made things more difficult. I would see social media pages created in order to start drama and spread rumors publicly. Some posts on social media pages would sometimes attack students from my middle school for their appearance and/or personality without them knowing. These are only a sample of what I’ve seen in my life. It continues to be an issue that grows and grows.
There was someone in my life that self-harmed themselves during my elementary school years. This person was someone I cared about. They are hilarious, generous, caring, talented, and so much more than words can describe. Yet, they did not feel well as they had numerous uncontrollable issues in their life: bullying at outside of school activities, expectations from a parent, and abuse. This person did not know how to cope with it and only saw the way to do so by causing themselves to feel more pain to “relieve” reality’s pain. They made it public under a social media account and pretended to be someone else running the account. Eventually, this friend of mine reached out to their friends, family members, and myself for guidance. Seeing my friend go through this stage in their life at such a young age opened my eyes about how unspoken mental health issues go.
The same person that has been mentioned in the previous self-harm article was also planning to [take their own life]. They tried to cut themselves repeatedly, sent out messages on social media talking about their depressed mood, and more. Words cannot describe how lucky I am to still have this person in my life today, as I speak. It was heartbreaking seeing someone who I cared about feel like this even though they are very much appreciated and loved. There needs to be more acceptance, kindness, assistance, and love that needs to be spread more in society.
I am personally affected by mental health issues. A number of my friends are affected by mental health issues. One of my friends was diagnosed with anxiety, depression, ADHD, and a personality crisis during their middle school years. They struggled with their battle as they had issues in their life that caused them to result like this. The way they coped in the beginning was scary as they changed the way they acted and turned to unhealthy coping mechanisms. Yet, this person continued to challenge the battle as they turned to help and found a supportive group of friends. The most common mental health issues I see amongst my friends is depression and anxiety. I care about the people around me very much so, I want to be a support system and help them through their battles.
I stumbled across The Peyton Heart Project through social media. Many of the non-profits I am involved with and keep up with ended up having a recommendation to PHP. I looked through their social media pages and website to understand and learn more about the unique concept. I instantly fell in love with it and wanted to be a part of this movement.
The Peyton Heart Project means to be a light. This non-profit ultimately shines a bright light in someone’s dark and gloomy stage of life. The Peyton Heart Project shows people that people with mental health issues are not alone. They provide comfort and support through their hearts. It brings people meaning to their life and helps them remember that they are valuable to this world. They educate others on how to help people with mental health issues and educate people with mental health issues on how to cope with them in a healthy manner. They are an eye-opener to many and many more to come. They provide nothing but light and love into the lives of many.
Being a Peyton Heart Project ambassador would allow me to spread love and assistance to those in my community. There are many people in this world that do not feel that they are worth anything. I want to spread messages of kindness, hope, and encouragement across my community in order to lift people up in the best way possible. I also want to educate people on how important mental health is and to destroy the stigma around mental health [issues]. In addition, I enjoy crafts and volunteering so, this would allow me to utilize my skills!
I intend to fulfill my role as a Peyton Heart Project ambassador with various ideas. Within my school, I want to create a mental health club that educates students and to create a safe, comfort zone. One of the activities would be creating hearts with members and hang them around school. Another activity could have fundraisers to donate to mental health non-profits. Community-wide, I would like to spread hearts anywhere and everywhere. Eventually, I want to hold community-wide heart making events at libraries and encourage people to spread them. It would be amazing if I could engage more people to support this awesome non-profit! I have more ideas to come but, this is all I have for now!