ARIZONA NEWS

Chandler teen aiming to help fellow youth with mental health problems

Apr 8, 2024, 4:25 AM

Arizona Students for Mental Health aims to help young people struggling with issues. (AZ Students f...

Arizona Students for Mental Health aims to help young people struggling with issues. (AZ Students for Mental Health Photo)

(AZ Students for Mental Health Photo)

PHOENIX — A Chandler teen who started a nonprofit nearly two years after her own mental health struggles is continuing her mission to help youth suffering from the same problems.

Riana Alexander was a junior at Chandler High School in 2022 when she had a mental health crisis. Her days at that time weren’t fun — she stopped spending time with friends and family and instead was alone, typically sleeping. At one point, she had to go to online school so she could get treatment.

Alexander had a good support system in her mother, but she started Arizona Students for Mental Health later in 2022 to help younger people who were going through the same issues she was, especially those without the same resources.

“The reason that I’m so passionate about mental health is because a lot of teens aren’t able to come out from these struggles well,” Alexander told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Outspoken with Bruce and Gaydos on Thursday.

Identifying teen mental health problems

Alexander said that when she was having her issues, she initially struggled to differentiate between normal teen problems and deeper mental health symptoms.

Her nonprofit staff — Alexander has nearly 10 people, all high schoolers, helping — push out resources to the community on the warning signs of mental health problems. Part of the outreach involves informing the community on how to work with someone who is suspected of having issues.

Alexander’s mom was the one who helped her realize her behavior wasn’t normal.

“I think a lot of times, there’s really smart, really capable students that just fall through the cracks because their parents didn’t notice or their teachers didn’t notice and there’s just so much going on in so many people’s lives that sometimes, it’s really hard to see if your teen is struggling,” Alexander said.

Erasing the mental health stigma

The other part of Alexander’s nonprofit’s mission is to remove the stigma associated with mental health.

Her staff is purposely made up of high schoolers in order to amplify younger voices on an issue that is affecting them.

Arizona Students for Mental Health also works with the Chandler Unified School District and some Arizona politicians on how to tackle the issues.

Even so, Alexander said the work has to start at home.

“There’s not a job or a grade or any situation that’s going to be more important than you and prioritizing your health,” Alexander said. “So, if the steps to do that is talking to your parents about what’s going on, then you should do that and just be open and honest.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

indicted in fake elector scheme Arizona Republicans...

Associated Press

Former Arizona GOP chair Kelli Ward enters not guilty plea in fake elector case

Ward and at least 11 other people were arraigned Tuesday for conspiracy, forgery and fraud charges. Her trial date is set for Oct. 17.

24 minutes ago

...

KTAR Video

Video: What can we do to prevent drownings during the Arizona summer?

What can we do to prevent drownings during the Arizona summer? Jim Sharpe talks about recent drownings in Arizona on his Sharper Point commentary. Video: Jeremy Schnell and Felisa Cárdenas/KTAR News Subscribe to the KTAR Daily Newsletter: https://bit.ly/45MmM3G Read articles from KTAR News: https://ktar.com/ Download the KTAR app: https://ktar.com/the-ktar-newstalk-app/ Sign up for texts from KTAR: […]

1 hour ago

...

KTAR Video

Video: What can we do to prevent drownings during the Arizona summer?

What can we do to prevent drownings during the Arizona summer? Jim Sharpe talks about recent drownings in Arizona on his Sharper Point commentary. Video: Jeremy Schnell and Felisa Cárdenas/KTAR News Subscribe to the KTAR Daily Newsletter: https://bit.ly/45MmM3G Read articles from KTAR News: https://ktar.com/ Download the KTAR app: https://ktar.com/the-ktar-newstalk-app/ Sign up for texts from KTAR: […]

1 hour ago

Arizona man pleads guilty in false tax return scheme...

SuElen Rivera

Arizona man pleads guilty in $60M false tax return scheme

An Arizona man pleaded guilty on Friday to two counts of helping people file false tax returns as part of a scheme where they used fake trust accounts to hide income and pay less in taxes.

2 hours ago

Oliver's to open in Scottsdale...

KTAR.com

Oliver’s Modern American to open in former Polynesian Dairy Queen site in Scottsdale

Oliver's Modern American, poised to take over the country's sole former Polynesian Dairy Queen site, will open in Scottsdale this Friday.

5 hours ago

Follow @DannyShapiro13...

Sponsored Content by Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

Sponsored Articles

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Chandler teen aiming to help fellow youth with mental health problems