My introduction to the selfsea app, a digital community created inclusively with and for young people as a safe space to discuss and share knowledge on identity, mental and sexual health, started with a posting I saw to earn money by sharing my personal experiences. By no means am I or ever been an internet celebrity or influencer so naturally recording myself was outside of my realm of comfort, but that is why I signed up to do it. As a college student stepping into a world of vast uncertainty, recording these videos has benefited the young people who watch them and me in more ways than I could have ever imagined.
In my work with selfsea, I've spoken a lot about my attempts at dealing with the emotionally taxing Covid-19 pandemic. I've recorded myself talking about journaling and watching Netflix as a way to cope. Through openly exploring these challenges, I've come to understand my mental health journey and myself a little bit more.
Most importantly, I've recognized how much I needed an app like selfsea in my youth. I often wonder, what if selfsea existed when I was in high school? How might my life and internal trajectory been affected had I been exposed to the stories of other young people facing similar obstacles? Through my videos and the community support of selfsea, I've grown to learn that many of my other peers are dealing with the same issues. These videos have reminded me that I am not alone in trying to figure out a healthy way to manage my anxiety.
"Young people have had a tremendously difficult time during the pandemic," said Chris Wilson, Director, Digital Content at Peer Health Exchange. "Black and Latinx youth especially are struggling with depression, anxiety and loneliness amongst other mental health challenges. selfsea was built together with young people, as a community where they feel heard and a trusted resource accessible to all."
I knew about the opportunity to work with selfsea because I was initially a volunteer Health Educator at Peer Health Exchange, a national non-profit that aims to build healthier communities with young people. The volunteer work gave me the opportunity to engage a class of ninth graders and share tools and resources to help them make healthy decisions as they moved forward in high school. Little did I know that would prepare me to share my experiences on selfsea and reach thousands of young people.
Knowing that I'm making a positive impact for so many young people just like me is the ultimate reward.
About selfsea: selfsea, is a digital community powered by Peer Health Exchange, providing young folx with support, resources, and stories from young adults who’ve been there. Our selfsea app was designed together with young people as a safe digital place where they can see themselves reflected within a supportive and inclusive community that prioritizes their identity and experiences about mental health, sexual health, and beyond.