Ethan grew up believing that emotional struggles should be bottled up. A motto that was used often in his home was: “quit your crying and complaining, and just carry on.”

Through humor, he learned unhealthy coping habits like pushing down his emotions and turning to self-harm in an attempt to relieve the suffering.

Through the Discover You program offered by The ROCK Center for Youth Development, mental health and ways of coping were talked about openly, allowing the students to share their struggles. After feeling like he had nobody to talk to, and that his friends and family wouldn’t understand, Ethan started to feel like someone was finally listening to him.

Through this program, mental health, relationships, and issues that his peers were dealing with started being topics that were easily shared, rather than something to be dealt with alone.

Ethan connected with one of the counselors through Discover You and felt comfortable being honest about the severity of the issues he was facing and how it was getting harder and harder to find healthy ways to cope.

Ethan’s counselor was able to connect him with a professional therapist who helped him learn new, healthy ways to express his emotions.