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Advocating the Importance of Mental Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1 in 5 adults in the US live with a mental illness. A survey conducted last year showed approximately 87 percent of young individuals suffered from some mental health problem regularly. 

While the mental health crisis is affecting all age groups, many individuals, organizations, and the government are putting their best effort into addressing the chaos. Several young influencers in our community have taken the courage to help people talk about mental well-being while taking care of themselves. 

Meet Kamille Brooks, Miss Keller’s Teen 2024. The 18-year-old is aware that mental health is an integral aspect of holistic wellness, and to keep it intact, we should be able to understand our own feelings, thoughts, and behaviors positively and to seek help when necessary.

The Arlington woman decided to be a mental health advocate after she saw her mom going through some serious emotional turbulence. 

“When I was 9 years old, my mom attempted to overdose in our bathroom, and I was the one to call the police,” Kamille said. “I knew from that day forward I had to advocate for mental health because I almost lost my mom. I didn’t understand at the time how important it was to talk about our emotions. I ended up going to therapy and began to spread the message of speaking up about my feelings.”

After winning the title of Miss Keller’s Teen, a dual-credit senior at Arlington Collegiate High School and Tarrant County College is occupied with a lot. Her studies, pageant involvements, recently launched YouTube channel, etc., can be overwhelming. However, Kamille says she wouldn’t change it for the world. 

“In addition to the Miss Texas Organization and Miss Keller Organization, I have served with many places, including Circle R Ranch, Operation Christmas Child, NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness), and more,” she said.  

The local pageant platforms have provided young adults with opportunities to discover themselves and grow in any direction they want. Kamille is organized, stalwart, disciplined, and always learning to better herself. She attributes these traits to her success in winning the Miss Keller’s Teen title. At such a young age, Kamille has identified her purpose. 

“My goal is to save lives and make people feel special with words. Words are very powerful — use them the right way, and they do wonders,” Kamille said. “I also dream of starting my own pageant system and owning a prom, wedding, and pageant dress store.” 

“Initially, I will be a financial advisor for low-income families. After I save up enough, I’ll be going to start my own business and become an entrepreneur!”

Besides pageants, Kamille loves swimming, roller skating, thrift shopping, trying new foods, and learning new skills.

Discussing mental health also includes myths about it. Unfortunately, many people think mental health issues are a sign of weakness and that illness is an excuse to be narcissistic. Experts advise that mental health challenges can occur to people of all age groups, including children. The challenges have nothing to do with being weak or lazy. Brooks’ new YouTube channel focuses on open discussion about the areas that must be discussed and heard. 

“Many people think speaking about one’s mental issues is an excuse to act a little crazy sometimes. We need to break the stigma so people can get the help they need and feel more themselves,” she mentioned. 

“Don’t be afraid to talk to someone about what’s happening! The more you talk, the better and stronger you will become. There is always someone there for you! And if you ever feel like you need somewhere to turn, my Instagram is @misskellersteen. I will help you as best I can!”

Kamille also shared that parents should take the time to talk to their kids more than just at the surface level. They should take the first step to normalize talking about mental health before it’s too late. 

“There are not always signs that kids or even those around you are struggling. Anything can happen to anyone! If you have any questions or need resources for your household or class, please message me or email me at mimi@kamillebrooks.org!”

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