The Effect of BBYO and Leadership on Mental Health

December 23, 2020
Zoe Green-Mizel

Los Angeles, California, United States

Class of 2023

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CW: This piece contains mentions of depression and anxiety

Mental health is a term floating around society right now. It is one of the most important issues in the world. According to the World Health Organization, depression is a leading illness for teens ages 15-19. Even scarier, suicide is the third leading cause of death for that age range. This is a crisis that is not talked about enough and has way too much stigma around it. But, that's not what I am discussing today.

My personal journey with mental health has been one that I have been struggling with since I was 7 years old. Now look, I am not here to make you all feel bad for me and go “aww”, but I did go through that dark period in my life. It took a lot to get me out, sadly I was too young to join BBYO during that time, but since I have joined I haven’t sunk completely back into that dark place.

Yes, I've had my days, but it hasn't gotten close to the way I was before. There are many different reasons for that. First, I made bonds that will last me a lifetime. These are the people who will stay up all night on the phone with me to make sure I am okay and alive. But, the thing that is the most interesting in my opinion is how leadership has improved me and my mental state.

The best way I think to explain it I think is by saying it gives purpose. I personally know without me, my chapter would not be the same. I know I have worth in my chapter, and that I am an important part. I especially realized this when I began to take on board positions. I knew I had a group of people that depended on me to be there for them. Not just in my chapter, but also regionally and internationally.

Next time people ask me why I am so involved in BBYO, my answer will be this: If I was not so involved, I would not feel needed. I would not have people who check in on me to make sure I am okay, and that I am getting my work done.

Yes, I am in fear of burnout. I load myself with a lot of work, I take hard classes, and I still need time to be a kid, but I have a passion. This sounds so cheesy, but BBYO acts as a spark in my life. It just doesn't feel like a burden or feel like work, so to say. I know it's something that I love doing, even if it's occasionally somewhat tedious.

BBYO is more than just an organization. It is something that has helped me figure out who I am and find my worth. It found me a lifelong family that I know will never leave me. I have a place where I know people care about me and my mental health. I also hold leadership roles, which improves my mental health. As it says on page 2 in the Red Book:

“The more of yourself that you will give to BBG, the more you will receive.”

I have given my all, and I have received more than I could have ever asked for in return.

Zoe Green is a BBG from Pacific Western Region and she loves playing drums.

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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