Scholar Spotlight – Chad

On the outside looking in, you’d think that Chad has it all together (and he really does), but on the inside, he struggles with anxiety and deep depression. His parents dubbed this internal struggle, the dark side of Chad when he was little. Fortunately, his family has been supportive since he was very young and encouraged him to seek therapy starting in the 3rd grade. Therapy worked for a while, but then middle school hit.

“In hindsight, I’m grateful for it. First, it kept me safe. Second it gave me the motivation to do what I had to do to get better.”

Middle school is rough, really rough. And kids can be mean, really mean. Sometimes, even in the best of circumstances, like with Chad who was lucky enough to have a strong support system, depression and anxiety can quickly spiral out of control. Chad was able to express his desire to hurt himself so his parents sprung into action and sought help. He was transported by ambulance to a psychiatric facility. Although he found the experience confining and difficult, he began to see that he wasn’t alone, there were other kids, some many years younger, who struggled.

This experience served him well as Chad moved on to high school, he joined many clubs and began taking advanced courses. So, when the anxiety and depression began to overwhelm him once again, he knew the signs and reached out for help.

“I needed to remember that mental illness is a day-by-day process and I didn’t need to do it alone, I had family, friends and mental health experts to support me.”

His dream is to study broadcasting and go on to use his voice in media to help others. He is already well on his way! During high school, Chad served as the President of the TV Production Club and was the lead anchor on the daily morning show for his school. His production work on a news feature on Hurricane Irma earned him a state journalism award and he has already completed a 2-year internship with an Emmy Award winning producer and has Production Assistant credit on three documentaries. He has also produced a PSA on Depression to raise awareness that highlights the internal struggle some people have while displaying a happy and outgoing facade. He will be attending the University of Central Florida as a Broadcast Journalism major.

“I am not cured. I know that. But the dark side doesn’t seem so dark. I’m feeling as optimistic as I ever have. I have the tools. I have a plan. I am better at reading the signs. I’m ready to live out the new, exciting slightly scary chapter in my life.”

We could not be more proud to be a small part of Chad’s journey! He is already a star in our eyes.

To see some of Chad’s work:

Are you ready to #LiveYourNextChapter? We will begin accepting applications for 2020-21 in late August of 2019. Click here to see our Application Page!

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Scholar Spotlight – Rian

Rian had visual hallucinations all his life. Starting at the age of 5, although they were very disturbing, he thought everyone saw them. He never told anyone because he didn’t know it was abnormal. That was until middle school, when his hallucinations began to manifest into debilitating experiences, leading to worrisome self-harming and suicidal behaviors. […]

Our board consists of professionals in the behavioral health care industry and educators. We understand what you’ve been through, and we have the resources to help.