The Paris Project is an amazing, student led organization focused on mental health awareness in BIPOC communities. Read on!
Tell us all about you and your organization!
My name is Carolina Nazario. I am an 18 year-old from Waterbury, Connecticut. I will be attending Stanford University next fall, and I have always been very passionate about serving my community. I spend a lot of my time organizing community service projects that other teens in the area can participate in, since I think that by dedicating your time to the community, you can create wonderful changes. I have worked in projects increasing literacy, giving food donations, and also mentoring younger children in the community through art projects. The project I am most passionate about is mental health in minority and lower-income communities. The Paris Project came out of the work of a couple of years of in-person advocacy (including raising money for NAMI, providing materials with mental health information, and selling different types of merchandise) for mental health, once COVID-19 hit I could no longer do this advocacy in-person, so instead I took this personal project online and created an organization where I spread information about mental health, illness, self-care, and disparities in the mental health community. This organization is dedicated to decreasing stigma, while also raising awareness about the importance of maintaining a healthy mental health.
Why do you think it’s important for your generation to let their voices be heard?
It is crucial for this generation to let their voices be heard because we have a unique perspective. We were raised in the times of radical social changes, with a focus on world issues and problems. With this in mind, our generation has a focus on community (both local and global) more than generations previous, which is something I have seen through the internet, peers, and social leaders which tend to be young. Our generation has made a point to be socially conscious, so it is crucial to hear their input on many issues of the world.
Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future?
I am very optimistic about the future. I previously talked about the way that our generation is incredibly socially conscious, but beyond that, they ARE the future. To have the possibilities of world leaders and shapers who are from this generation excites me for the future. There are many problems in the world, and new questions to be answered (expanding in an industrial world while being environmentally conscious, creating better healthcare services, and so many other issues), but there are also people who are eager to address these problems head-on. I think this generation can create positive changes for the future.
What are the most important issues facing our world right now? And in the future?
The main issues facing our world today include many things, I would say the most underlying issues are rooted in inequalities, discrimination, and stigma. What I mean by this, for example, healthcare is a major problem in the world, but, especially, in minority or lower-income communities that face inequality and stigma- this applies to mental health, literacy rates, and/or poverty and hunger issues. These problems can affect anyone, but especially affect minorities and other groups of people because of discrimination and other forms of stigma. The underlying factors of inequalities, discrimination, and stigma may always exist to some extent, but, currently, they are the most foundational problem society faces and leads to so many other issues, so that is problem why it is the important issue facing our world now, and, in truth, the future cannot become better until there are ways to curb these problems. Furthermore, this leads directly to the major issue of mental health and illness, if people feel stigmatized and discriminated against, it creates a negative emotion and mental health. This is another major challenge that the world faces, finding ways to improve mental health for people of all backgrounds and creeds.
What does your organization offer that helps the world be a better place?
My organization offers information that is digestible. A lot of in-depth mental health information is very academic and may have difficult language- I wanted to create mental health information that was easy to understand and quick to access. There are so many resources for mental health, but it is often very difficult to find the things that are applicable to you. My organization works to create posts which simplify information and put it into one accessible spot.
Will you be voting in the next election?
Yes, I will be.
Please tell us all about your current campaigns, projects and endeavors.
Currently, we are doing an awareness challenge to bring awareness to the large number of mental health awareness pages on Instagram. This goes along with the idea that there are many resources out there, but they may be hard to find. This is to bring awareness to the broad number of resources, and help promote each of the mental health pages which work so hard. I also post daily mental health information, along with weekly check-ins, a mental health Q&A, and mental health chit chat live.
Tell everyone where to find you online and on social platforms.
We have a mental health page on instagram called @the__paris__project (there are two underscores between each word!)
If there is anything else you would like to say, please do!
Please, take care of your mental health, reach out to your friends, and do your best to decrease stigma in your community.