By their own words, Destiny Lang, who goes by the plural pronoun, is as “passionate” about their own mental health as they are about other people’s.
Indeed, it was that passion that last year led the Grade 12 Burnett secondary student to frequent Richmond-based Pathways Clubhouse, a non-profit organization dedicated to, among other things, creating a path to mental wellness.
Last summer, a friend of Destiny who, being well aware of their passion, encouraged them to go to a Pathways’ mental health discussion group for youth aged 13 to 18.
“My friend thought this would be a great opportunity to get to know other youth in Richmond and find out what matters to youth,” said Destiny, who suffers from anxiety.
“It’s very important for me to take care of my mental health. During the pandemic, I started going to counselling and I’ve realized how important it is to take care of myself mentally and physically.
“It helps a lot to be generally happier and be a better version of myself. It all comes back to mental health.”
Destiny said they’re not sure if they had anxiety before the pandemic or whether something during the last 18 months brought it to the surface.
“I certainly wasn’t aware of it before then. All I know was I was diagnosed last year,” added Destiny.
“I’m a first generation immigrant from Hong Kong in 2013 and I had to leave behind maternal grandparents.
“They’re in their 80s now and I worried about them a lot, hoping they’re OK with their health and things like that.”
Destiny said connecting with other youth at Pathways helped them understand that they weren’t alone and there were people like them also suffering in relative silence.
“But I could see people being happy and that gave me the realization that I could also be happy and that was very empowering for me,” explained Destiny.
Destiny added that their experience as an air cadet in the effective speaking program has boosted their confidence, as had their desire to inspire others by taking part in the same program.