As with my daughter, too many of these young people were facing turmoil—at school, at home, or in their neighborhoods—that was impacting their emotional health and overall well-being. Again and again, we heard stories of depression, anxiety, and isolation hampering their ability to thrive personally and academically. Most worrying of all were the stories that included self-harm and suicide attempts.
That’s why my daughter and I founded Born This Way Foundation. Grounded in the belief that the world can—and must—be a kinder and braver place, our organization is working to inspire young people to lead the best life possible and empower them with the tools they need to get there.
We have reached out to young people—in their communities, on the road, and online. Over just a few years, Born This Way Foundation has directly connected with hundreds of thousands of young people around the country. Through the Born Brave Bus Tour and other initiatives, we have provided youth with a safe space to tell their stories and, through partnerships with more than 50 like-minded organizations, with access to resources and services in their communities when talking is not enough.
Now, “the Born This Way Foundation has partnered with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence to launch the Emotion Revolution.” Together, their goal is to build “awareness of the central role emotions play in young people’s learning, decision-making, relationships, and achievement, the initiative is beginning with an unprecedented online survey of high school-age youth nationwide.”
My daughter and I will join Yale President Peter Salovey, the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, and hundreds of young people from around the country at this convening. The summit will serve as a platform to unveil the findings of the study as well as offer youth the opportunity to share their ideas for creating improved learning environments with key educators, academics, and policymakers.
It may sound cliché, but as an increasingly robust body of research is demonstrating, emotions play a critical role in overall well-being. From physical health to academic and professional success, how someone feels has a tremendous impact on many key aspects of his or her life. Similarly, research is also showing us that providing young people with access to adequate resources and support can make an immense difference in shaping these outcomes.
…Combining Born This Way Foundation’s deep connections with young people with Yale University’s world-class researchers, this study will serve as a small but essential step towards listening to youth and understanding what they need. It will help create schools and communities where youth feel safe, inspired, and empowered. It will help start an Emotion Revolution.