FOX POINT, Wis.— On Nov. 12, teens in the greater Milwaukee area will gather for the One Thing I Wish You Knew event to discuss their personal struggles with mental health.
It’s a part of UMatter, a program offered through Friendship Circle in Fox Point. Friendship Circle offers support to people of all ages with special needs by providing recreational, social, educational and vocational programming.
After noticing a need to address mental health, UMatter was created to empower teenagers and young adults to seek help when they need it.
The organization is hosting a Ted Talk-like event, using real stories from teens to shine a light on the stigmas surrounding mental health.
One of the speakers at the upcoming event is Emma Howe, a senior at University School of Milwaukee.
Howe has struggled with anxiety and depression since middle school. Since then, she has worked to find activities that can help her relax, such as her new hobby: knitting.
“It’s just really good to keep my hands busy,” she said.
Howe’s experiences have enlightened her to just how common mental health issues are, and how it has affected those closest to her.
“Not only me, but people in my family struggle with mental health and I think that it is very important to not only spread awareness, but to let people know that you care about them by wanting to know how you can help them,” she said.
Howe met a new friend, Sophia Hey, through the group. Hey has been helping Howe prepare for her presentation.
"I think this event will raise a lot of awareness, especially in teens," Hey said.
“I hope someone can relate, and that it resonates with some people, and that they find it comforting in some way,” Howe said.
Howe is among a generation of teens who were at a vulnerable age during the COVID-19 pandemic. The teenage years can be challenging with peer pressures, school and family responsibilities. Howe wants others to know they’re not alone.
“I just want to help people, and I want people to get better,” Howe said.
The One Thing I Wish You Knew event for UMatter takes place on Nov. 12 at the Jewish Community Center in Whitefish Bay.