Editors Note: Lucas has asked that throughout this story we use their prefered pronouns, “they/them.” The pronouns have been altered in quotes.
Mental health is a widespread issue and topic almost anywhere you go, including college campuses.
Knowing how to handle our mental health is an important aspect to life and Lucas Lord, a member of Hornets for Hope and freshman politica lscience major, is no stranger to these topics.
“I met Lucas when I was in 8th grade and we’ve been good friends basically ever since then,” said Beth Wright, freshman art education and art therapy major, and president of Hornets for Hope. “(They’re) actually really good at putting (their) emotions and experiences out for the sake of other people. So,i f (they) thinks that sharing (their) own experiences would help somebody else feel comfortable sharing, (they’re) not afraid to do that.”
Lord has had many experiences involving mental health and was diagnosed with severe clinical depression around five years ago. They hoped that Hornets for Hope might be beneficial for them as an outlet.
“You just need to be happy with yourself,” Lord said. “Being honest with yourself and even being honest with close friends and family, letting them see and know that part of you can definitely help you realize that it may not be as bad as you think it is.
You’d be surprised how many people are supportive.”
Lord wanted to spread a message for others to be comfortable with who they are, for those who are transgender or otherwise LGBTQIA+, but Lord also said that this message of being happy with yourself is universal for everyone as well.
“That’s definitely my struggle but I think it’s definitely true for anyone, especially with depression as stigmatized as it is just like ‘Men don’t cry and depression is a choice. You just need to not be sad,’ and people looking at it as just being sad,” Lord said. “When depression is so many other things, there are chemical signs of depression, so it’s definitely not just in our heads.”
Lord says relationships are important contributions to how people look at themselves, and so surrounding oneself with supportive relationships can help with mental wellness and dealing with struggles both people might be facing.
“There’s this phrase I don’t like, where you have to love yourself before you love others. Because it assumes that the other person can’t love you as you are when you’re still struggling,” Lord said. “I think it’s important to work on those relationships as well as working on yourself.”
Lord also spoke to students April 7 during the Light the Way for Hope Suicide Prevention Walk and Fun Run about their experiences with mental health.
“I’m going to talk about my history with mental health services, and like the whole thing is obviously a hopeful kind of aspect, and a reflection on past times, so I’m going to talk about that,” Lord said.
As a member of Hornets for Hope, Lord finds the group to be an important outlet for students. The group meets at least once a week to discuss their own thoughts and do other activities.
“They’ve been a great contributor to the group, very vocal about (their) own experiences that (they’ve) had with mental health,” said Melissa Kurtenbach the community advisor of Hornets for Hope. “Very outgoing within the group, (they’re) very willing to share their own experience to try and help somebody else, so I find them very compassionate towards other people.”