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YouthAwareIssue11

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Cover credits: The Atlantic, NPR<br />

EDITOR'S NOTE<br />

Dear Readers,<br />

Fall is upon us, the season of change, of transition and<br />

new beginnings.<br />

While we know that warm days will be behind us, we<br />

also look forward to the beauty that autumn brings.<br />

We also look forward to schools reopening- a huge<br />

transition for many like me, who cannot wait to return<br />

to learning in person. "Back-to-School" season has<br />

never been more meaningful! As the pandemic<br />

continues to rage, kids and parents are cautiously<br />

optimistic for the new school year.<br />

The isolation has taken a toll on us and teen mental<br />

health has suffered during the pandemic. School<br />

reopening is a vital step towards supporting kids<br />

emotionally. In this issue, we address the parallel<br />

mental health pandemic that is taking a bigger toll than<br />

COVID-19.<br />

We are excited to publish an inspiring interview with Dr.<br />

John Lynch in this issue. "Making of a Leader" highlights<br />

the incredible journey of Dr. Lynch, who is the Medical<br />

Director of Infection Prevention & Control, Harborview<br />

Medical Center, at UW School of Medicine.<br />

His journey shows that a true leader not only leads<br />

from the head of the line, but also mobilizes and<br />

supports those at the back .<br />

I hope you enjoy reading this issue and wish you the<br />

best for school!<br />

Grewal<br />

CO-FOUNDER<br />

Mehr


HAPPINESS<br />

TIP #6<br />

CHANGE WITH<br />

MEET<br />

CONFIDENCE<br />

BY KATIE REMPE<br />

The seasons are changing, school is<br />

about to begin here in the United<br />

States, and there is no question that<br />

this year will be different than any<br />

other school year. Feeling anxious?<br />

That’s to be expected! The key to<br />

facing big changes is confidence: belief<br />

in yourself that you can meet the next<br />

challenge, walk through that open<br />

door, and take action!<br />

Where do you find that kind of<br />

confidence? You can find it in your<br />

past. Think back on all the things you<br />

did well especially during hard times.<br />

This reveals your strengths. To help<br />

you get you started:<br />

1. You are flexible. You adapted to<br />

Covid, to wearing a mask and keeping<br />

a physical distance while maintaining<br />

relationships with friends, teachers,<br />

and family. Be prepared to make<br />

changes in your routines again this<br />

year.<br />

2. You are curious. You have learned<br />

many new skills based on your<br />

interests. Design your<br />

projects this year around things you<br />

want to learn about.<br />

3. You are kind. You have stepped in<br />

to help others many times. Your<br />

kindness is contagious, it makes<br />

people want to be around you. Every<br />

smile, every door you hold open<br />

causes a ripple effect, making a better<br />

day for everyone around you.<br />

4. You are willing to share your<br />

emotions, which builds strong<br />

relationships. Continue to open up to<br />

others and be a listener as well.<br />

5. You focus on the positive. You<br />

remember the good moments and let<br />

go of the hard ones.<br />

Change is in the air, and you can greet<br />

it with confidence! Walk through those<br />

doors with an open mind.<br />

Listen, have fun, and most of all smile,<br />

they will see it in your eyes.


The PARALLEL<br />

PANDEMIC<br />

the teen mental<br />

health crisis<br />

during covid-19<br />

BY LAUREN<br />

CHANG<br />

Disrupting school and interactions<br />

with peers, the pandemic has left<br />

teens with stress, anxiety, and<br />

other mental health challenges.<br />

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic<br />

began, concerning mental health<br />

trends and major treatment gaps<br />

were noted among adolescents in<br />

the United States.


According to data from the<br />

National Survey on<br />

Drug Use and Health, an<br />

estimated 13.3% of US<br />

adolescents aged 12-17<br />

experienced at least 1 episode<br />

of major depressive disorder in<br />

2017, yet 60.1% of these<br />

individuals did not receive<br />

treatment for their<br />

illness. These issues are being<br />

further exacerbated by the<br />

current crisis, with an especially<br />

high risk of worsening mental<br />

health among individuals with<br />

pre-existing psychological<br />

problems. There are<br />

increased symptoms of<br />

depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic<br />

stress disorder<br />

among youth of various<br />

age groups. For adolescents<br />

and teens, whose interactions<br />

with peers are so central to<br />

their lives and development,<br />

the pandemic’s shrinking of<br />

their world has been especially<br />

difficult. Schools provides a<br />

safety net to recognize child<br />

abuse, mental health-related<br />

issues,<br />

homelessness, and other<br />

concerns. During the<br />

pandemic, we haven’t had<br />

that system in<br />

place.Adolescents and other<br />

youth are also affected by the<br />

impact of the pandemic on<br />

their caregivers, including<br />

unemployment, financial and<br />

emotional stress,<br />

and fear of infection.<br />

Adolescents and other youth<br />

are also affected by the<br />

impact of the pandemic on<br />

their caregivers, including<br />

unemployment, financial and<br />

emotional stress,<br />

and fear of infection.<br />

Time for conversations<br />

Parents set the tone in the<br />

household. Keeping lines of<br />

communication open with<br />

kids can give parents<br />

a glimpse into their minds.


Some children or adolescents may need more time and space to<br />

express their feelings. Some may do better with gradual<br />

conversations and other activities besides talking, such as<br />

painting or drawing to express themselves and manage stress.<br />

Others might be more comfortable with direct conversations or<br />

activities.<br />

They may need to talk to a trusted adult about how to keep up<br />

social connections safely, or their feelings of boredom, loss, and<br />

even guilt.<br />

Staying in touch with the child’s pediatrician is vital. They can give<br />

families guidance on ways to best support their child and check<br />

in on the child’s social and emotional health.<br />

As we navigate this pandemic, let’s help ourselves, our peers and<br />

friends by taking the first step… to start the conversation.<br />

Supporting kids through loneliness, anxiety, and frustration can create<br />

a safe space for conversations between kids and trusted adults


why i like gardening<br />

summer I developed a new hobby. I<br />

This<br />

to grow something. I decided to<br />

wanted<br />

a small patch of land in my backyard<br />

use<br />

grow a kitchen garden<br />

to<br />

aunt Sarah inspired me to try<br />

My<br />

and helped me prepare the<br />

gardening<br />

by mixing in compost with the dirt.<br />

patch<br />

bought 6 huge bags of compost and<br />

We<br />

the soil upside down<br />

turned<br />

compost was a bit smelly but it had a<br />

The<br />

texture. The dirt became very<br />

beautiful<br />

and fresh. Once we aerated the soil,<br />

soft<br />

planted tomatoes, peas, strawberries,<br />

we<br />

chard, basil, cilantro, mint, rosemary,<br />

kale,<br />

potatoes, and rhubarb.<br />

basil,<br />

watered the plants daily and took out the<br />

I<br />

I even put a fence to keep rabbits<br />

weeds.<br />

my gardener out because he would<br />

and<br />

it up. mess<br />

even talked to my plants daily, telling<br />

I<br />

how beautiful they were. Sometimes,<br />

them<br />

plants talked back<br />

the<br />

me, gently swaying in the wind<br />

to<br />

two months, I had a bumper crop of<br />

In<br />

– including tomatoes,<br />

vegetables<br />

peas, carrots, beets,<br />

potatoes,<br />

and greens. I am enjoying eating<br />

herbs,<br />

veggies every day just as much as I<br />

fresh<br />

growing them. My book called<br />

enjoyed<br />

Garden Primer” tells me about<br />

"The<br />

plants and I hope to continue<br />

different<br />

next year as well!<br />

gardening<br />

by simar grewal


BY SHRAVYA KOTHA<br />

EXPLORING<br />

BEIODIVERSITY


An ocelot, an endangered species native to the Amazon region<br />

The term biodiversity “shortened form of two words "biological" and "diversity”<br />

refers to the variety of life on Earth at all its levels, from genes to ecosystems, and all<br />

the variety of life that can be found on Earth (plants, animals, fungi and microorganisms)<br />

as well as to the communities that they form and the habitats in which<br />

they live.<br />

Biodiversity is important to most aspects of our lives. We value biodiversity for many<br />

reasons. This means we value biodiversity both for what it provides to humans, and<br />

for the value it has in its own right. Humans obtain many basic needs from<br />

biodiversity such as food, fuel, shelter, and medicine. Further, ecosystems provide<br />

crucial services such as pollination, seed dispersal, climate regulation, water<br />

purification, nutrient cycling, and control of agricultural pests. Biodiversity also holds<br />

value for potential benefits not yet recognized, such as new medicines and other<br />

possible unknown services.<br />

Biodiversity has cultural value to humans as well, through cultural or piritious<br />

reasons. Finally, biodiversity and its value can also be understood through the<br />

relationship we form and strive for with each other and the rest of nature. These<br />

relational values are part of peoples’ individual or collective sense of wellbeing,<br />

responsibility for and also a connection to the environment and nature. The different<br />

values placed on biodiversity are important because they can influence the<br />

conservation decisions people make every day.


A close up of a red-eyed tree frog in Costa Rica<br />

However, as the human population rises and wild areas are razed to create<br />

farmland, housing and industrial sites. The felling of forests is often the first step and<br />

30m hectares - the area of the Britain and Ireland - were lost globally in 2016.This led<br />

to a loss of biodiversity.<br />

Poaching and unsustainable hunting for food is another major factor. More than 300<br />

mammal species, from chimpanzees to hippos to bats, are being eaten into extinction.<br />

Pollution is a killer too, with orcas and dolphins being seriously harmed by long-lived<br />

industrial pollutants. Global trade contributes further harm: amphibians have suffered<br />

one of the greatest declines of all animals due to a fungal disease thought to be<br />

spread around the world by the pet trade. Global shipping has also spread highly<br />

damaging invasive species around the planet, like rats.<br />

Why do we need to protect biodiversity? Biodiversity is the key indicator of the<br />

health of an ecosystem. A wide variety of species will cope better with threats than a<br />

limited number of them in large populations. Even if certain species are affected by<br />

pollution, climate change or human activities, the ecosystem as a whole may adapt<br />

and survive. But the extinction of a species may have unforeseen impacts, sometimes<br />

snowballing into the destruction of entire ecosystems.


the need to live up to others’ expectations and to keep up with trends we may<br />

not be comfortable with.<br />

Social media, like a double edged sword, adds to these pressures especially on<br />

young people who are the most vulnerable.<br />

COVID-19 has pushed mental health front and center in a way it wasn’t<br />

before. The pandemic increased the demand for conversations around mental<br />

health. Celebrities like Biles and Osaka have further highlighted the need to<br />

acknowledge and own mental health struggles.<br />

In general, research shows that mental health issues are most likely to affect<br />

people during their teens and young adulthood. That’s not surprising, given the<br />

dramatic social changes occurring at that point in people’s lives. About 30% of<br />

people aged 18 to 25 years report having a diagnosis of a mental illness in<br />

the preceding year, which means this age group already represents a higher<br />

risk group. Even more concerning, the impact of mental health issues can be<br />

more grave in this age group than in any other.<br />

It’s ok to not be ok<br />

Acknowledging a mental health struggle is by no means a sign of weakness.<br />

Rather, it is the first step on the road to building resilience. While stoicism was<br />

the norm years ago, acceptance is the mantra today. The willingness of<br />

athletes to acknowledge their struggles sets an example young people around<br />

the world to speak up and seek help.<br />

This isolating pandemic really highlights the<br />

fact that nurturing our<br />

minds just as we care for our bodies has<br />

never been more relevant.<br />

As a generation of change , we can<br />

spearhead these conversations and help<br />

reduce the stigma surrounding mental health.<br />

After all, we are all human.


PLAYDATE<br />

WITH A FOX (OR 2)<br />

B Y I V A N K A V A R S H N E Y


There are so many different ways to connect with animals in their natural habitat. I like to<br />

see and interact with animals in their natural setting. But sometimes animals need<br />

rehabilitation after being injured and need to be rescued and live in sanctuaries.<br />

One such sanctuary is called Wolf Park located in Battle Ground in Indiana. It mostly has<br />

wolves as rescued animals but also houses few foxes that needed to be saved. Here you<br />

get an option to sponsor any of these animals for a year. Then you can visit your sponsored<br />

animals few times a year and have a personal visit ! Due to my age , I could not sponsor<br />

and interact with a wolf ,which is my favorite animal. So for my gift for my 9th birthday last<br />

year, I requested my parents to help me sponsor a fox at the sanctuary.<br />

I sponsored a red fox named Scarlette . Due to the pandemic I was unable to visit her in<br />

2020. Finally this summer we decided to drive to Indiana and visit my sponsored fox. It was<br />

such a great experience ! I was allowed to see her from upclose in her enclosure. And as a<br />

bonus I also got to interact with its friend Joker - a gray fox .<br />

I could go in there with the caretaker and she was so knowledgeable and gave so much<br />

information about them. She showed me safe ways to interact with them, feed them, play<br />

with them.<br />

I had such a good time interacting with the wild animals. I also did a tour of the whole<br />

facility and saw some wolves. I will be able to sponsor a wolf and have a personal visit<br />

when I am 18. Wolf Park does a phenomenal job in rescuing and rehabilitating these<br />

animals. You can visit them during the year on various tours and also during fun events<br />

they organize. You can also help by donating food and other items they need for the<br />

animals. We donated gloves and cheese as it was on their list of items they needed.<br />

I came back with such great memories of a fun experience and learnt so much about these<br />

animals and also about animal rehab.


THE MAKING<br />

OF A LEADER<br />

Conversation with<br />

Dr. John Lynch<br />

Any time doing your medical school, residency or<br />

fellowship training did you expect that you will be in the<br />

eye of such a storm and what helped you to take charge<br />

and manage the situation?<br />

The answer to the first part of your question: No. I never<br />

expected to be in something like this, I obviously went to<br />

medical school. I was really interested in infectious diseases<br />

when I went into medical school and really steered me into<br />

Dr. Lynch is a professor at the UW<br />

Department of Medicine, Division of Allergy & Infectious<br />

Diseases and Medical Director of the Harborview<br />

Medical Centers for Infection Prevention & Control,<br />

Employee Health, and antibiotic stewardship.<br />

the work that I do now.<br />

-Mehr Grewal and Ajooni Dhanoa


The Delta<br />

Divide<br />

Invasion of the Mutants<br />

By Sneha Sadhwani and Alessandra Azure<br />

The delta variant has been the cause of<br />

much recent concern, quickly becoming the<br />

predominant strain of the COVID-19 virus<br />

in the United States. The delta variant is one<br />

of four variants of concern in the U.S.<br />

identified by the CDC - the others being<br />

Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. These variants are<br />

caused by one or more new mutations<br />

(meaning changes) to the SARS-CoV-2 virus<br />

that causes COVID-19. Mutations can occur<br />

when a virus replicates (copies itself), so the<br />

more widely circulating a virus is in a<br />

population, the more it will replicate and<br />

have opportunities to change in a way that<br />

creates a new variant. In the case of delta,<br />

this variant has found by the CDC to be<br />

“nearly twice as contagious as previous<br />

variants.<br />

”Its properties make it likely to outcompete<br />

other variants, with the CDC estimating the<br />

delta variant to account for more than 80%<br />

of all COVID-19 cases in the U.S.<br />

Additionally, according to Yale Medicine,<br />

“people who have not been fully vaccinated<br />

against COVID-19 are most at risk.”<br />

Washington State Department of Health data<br />

shows that “at least 94% of COVID-19 cases,<br />

deaths, and hospitalizations in individuals<br />

12 years or older from Washington state<br />

occurred in individuals who were not fully<br />

vaccinated.” Similar patterns across the<br />

United States have led officials like Dr.<br />

Rochelle Walensky, the CDC's director, to<br />

call this “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”


The majority of people still getting covid or<br />

a variant such as the delta variant are<br />

people that are unvaccinated. The vaccines<br />

are quite effective but sometimes a<br />

breakthrough infection occurs which is<br />

when a vaccinated person gets covid or a<br />

variant. With such cases, health experts say<br />

the vaccines should help lessen the severity<br />

of the illness. Overall getting vaccinated will<br />

protect you either by keeping you safe from<br />

covid or lessening symptoms.<br />

Worth A Shot, one of our community<br />

partners at Youth Aware, and the City of<br />

Bellevue are putting on information sessions<br />

for the community so people can get the<br />

information they need about vaccines, new<br />

variants, guidelines, etc. So far we have held<br />

multiple sessions in which we had health<br />

care providers to answer any questions from<br />

the community as well as guide people<br />

through the process of signing up for a<br />

vaccine. We have more sessions coming up<br />

in August and September so please use the<br />

link below to sign up.<br />

A discussion of the<br />

effects of the variants on the<br />

pandemic, vaccinations, and<br />

school reopening<br />

Friday, August 27th<br />

@ 5-7 PM PST<br />

REGISTER VIA EVENTBRITE:<br />

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/youth-link-<br />

covid-19-delta-variant-info-session-tickets-<br />

167504381113<br />

- Do I need a 3rd booster dose of an mRNA vaccine?<br />

-What types of masks will offer the most protection to my child at<br />

school?<br />

-What steps are schools taking to ensure the safety and health of<br />

all students?<br />

-Do vaccines work against the Delta variant?<br />

-What extra precautions should I take against new variants of<br />

concern?<br />

-Can we expect a rise in respiratory viruses in the fall?


W E W O U L D L O V E T O<br />

H E A R F R O M Y O U !<br />

SUBMIT TO OUR MAGAZINE AT:<br />

https://www.youthawaremagazine.com/submissions<br />

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