A message of hope for those struggling with mental health.
“This life. This night. Your story. Your hope. It matters. All of it matters..” -Jamie Tworkowski
Jaycen McBride didn’t set out to become an example of hope.
He didn’t set out to become a voice for mental wellness in his school.
He didn’t long to be seen as an ally for those experiencing personal challenges and wrestling with self-worth.
But in quietly struggling with these realities in his own life, he decided he wanted to be there for others who might be struggling in theirs.
Always hardworking, active at school, popular with others and gifted athletically, Jaycen was not someone most would consider at risk of doubting the value of living.
But for the past couple years, this high school sophomore quietly struggled with whispers of sadness, despair and hopelessness. And as the challenges mounted, as a grandparent passed away, as friendships waned, and as his inner world began to crumble, Jaycen wondered if continuing forward was worth it.
Rather than keep his struggle to himself, though, Jaycen wondered if others struggled with despair and questioned if they should keep going, too.
He began just listening closely to what other kids were saying and how they were saying it. Occasionally, he’d quietly let another student know that he struggled, too. He would let them know they weren’t alone, he was there for them, and there was reason for hope.
What began as just a couple conversations in the school hallways has since turned into almost 100 conversations with Jaycen offering encouragement to other students. He reminds each of them they can reset the struggles of today by seeing the promise of tomorrow.
And in helping others, Jaycen also recognized it was helping him, too.
And thus, desiring to impact even more students, Jaycen sought a way to bring a message of empowerment, hopefulness and life to all 1,100 of his classmates.
And that’s how last week, with the help of some of our friends at McDonalds, we reminded the students at Marion High School that their lives are a sacred gift, they can make a hugely positive difference in the world and the best is yet to come. It was an awesome celebration of the lives of all in attendance.
To mark the occasion, Jaycen made a few t-shirts with the words: “STAY; TOMORROW NEEDS YOU” emblazed on the front. He ordered 100 shirts to be distributed to his fellow students and was concerned he would be bringing boxes back to the car.
He ran out in just a couple minutes.
My friends, to value the sacred gift of your life, embrace with hopefulness the possibilities of tomorrow and then have the courage to endure the difficulties replete in every day is a message we all need to receive. It’s also one we need to embrace and live together.
Jaycen McBride didn’t set out to become the example of that message. He just became the bastion of it because he’s an awesome embodiment of someone actually living it.
Your life matters and you can make a difference.
Just ask 1,100 students at Marion High School.
This is your day. Live Inspired.
For another story of an individual providing support to those struggling with mental health, check out the Live Inspired Podcast interview with Amy Wolff. Overwhelmed by the staggering suicide rates in her small Oregon town, Amy started a global movement of hope, love and encouragement using yard signs.