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Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

Mind Out Loud calls for peace of mind

Sophomore Francesca Chu and junior Mary Mora fight for mental health recognition.
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Stephanie Cheng
Sophomore Francesca Chu and junior Mary Mora work on a project to rebrand a portion of UNICEF’s social media. “We have a pretty big team doing this, which makes things a lot easier,” Chu said. “[The project’s] going pretty well; we’re about to wrap up and I’m excited to see how the representatives will react to the work.”

With a click of a mouse, members fill the meeting room, names popping up left and right, as they wait for their monthly virtual workshops with mental health experts to begin. 

Sophomore Francesca Chu and junior Mary Mora are part of a virtual youth-led mental health organization, Mind Out Loud (MOL), that focuses on educating students on the importance of a healthy mind. Members are put into one of six committees: research, digital design, communications, connections, publications or outreach. Chu is a student director and the lead for digital design and Mora is a student representative and the lead for publications.

No matter how young, everybody’s feelings matter.

— Mary Mora

“Especially after COVID-19, with so many ongoing factors on youth, mental health is more important than ever,” Chu said. “I’ve had mental health struggles of my own and in Asian culture, it’s kind of a taboo to talk about your struggles so I think it’s really important to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health so future generations will be more willing to speak up about their struggles and create a safer community.”

MOL members meet every Tuesday and Thursday over Zoom because they connect with people from multiple states around the United States to organize future events, led by student directors like Chu. They host monthly workshops created by the outreach committee where they invite mental health speakers to educate them on topics such as their most recent workshop: sleep and its impact on mental health.

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“When I first joined, I was kind of skeptical, but then I began to look forward to the meetings every week because it was nice to be surrounded by people who have the same goals and feelings about mental health as me,” Chu said. “I’ve made some lifelong friends through the program, and it’s just good to meet people you wouldn’t normally meet.”

In May, MOL hosts their annual Youth-Led Mental Health Event online, which is open to the public, and many mental health specialists attend to share their experiences with the students. Chu and Mora plan to start preparing  for the event in mid-February with the program. 

“I think it’s very important to destigmatize the conversation of mental health because a lot of people tend to just dismiss mental health in youth as puberty or hormones,” Mora said. “It’s important to educate yourself about different things that can cause [bad] mental health in a way that can advocate for everybody’s voices to be heard [because] no matter how young, everybody’s feelings matter.”

Within mental health, there are four other pillars of focus in MOL: suicide prevention, personal wellness, awareness and advocacy and support for marginalized communities.

“One of our missions [is] to [make] a world that is accepting and spread awareness on all the things that are happening right now,” Chu said.

The publications committee focuses on creating monthly newsletters, which are available on their website, that contain educational research and creative writing surrounding mental health topics the group has chosen to cover for the month. For example, they did a cover on seasonal depression in December 2023 for the beginning of winter. Mora ensures her committee meets deadlines and enjoys writing in the newsletter as well. 

It was nice to be surrounded by people who have the same goals and feelings about mental health as me.

— Francesca Chu

“I think [MOL]’s helping me become a better person. It helps me learn a lot more about myself and how to be a lot more compassionate, understanding and able to empathize with people going through different things, things I’m not used to but I’m still able to understand and help,” Mora said. 

On the other hand, the graphic design committee is in charge of managing and creating the program’s visuals. Chu helps with curating posts and assures that they are approved for their Instagram, @molstudents, and also where MOL applications are open for anyone interested in joining. 

“We definitely want to have more representatives so reaching people in other states and even other countries is a big goal of ours,” Chu said. “We make changes to the program every year. We’re constantly evolving and I’d just like to see the program just step in a better direction and know that I’m leaving it in good hands.”

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About the Contributors
Rylyn Wang, Feature editor
Hi my name is Rylyn Wang, I'm in the 10th grade, and I'm the Feature editor for The Hoofprint. Outside of The Hoofprint, I am in several clubs. In my free time, I enjoy reading and scrolling through my phone.
Stephanie Cheng, Photo manager and Media editor
Hi, my name is Stephanie Cheng and I am in 11th grade this year! This is my second year as the Hoofprint Photo manager and first year as Media editor. I am also in the Symphonic Orchestra on campus in addition to playing the piano outside of school. In my free time, I enjoy listening to music, going on walks and scrolling Pinterest.
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