Sophia Bush is a 4-H alum and paid a virtual visit to young 4-H member Micah Palacios for a discussion on mental health.

Palacios launched a mental health program in her community in Texas after an autoimmune disease led to hair loss and depression, and she spoke with Bush about the mental health struggles that teens are facing in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think it’s been such an interesting journey not just for me, but in the scope of public discourse over the last five to 10 years,” Bush told Teen Vogue of her conversation, noting that society tends to “glorify overworking and all-nighters… For so many years when I was working on my first show, we would be doing 16 to 18 hours a day. I’d be flying home every weekend trying to see my family. I’d be taking a plane to New York for a day then flying back and being on set the next morning. I thought that was the way it was supposed to be and I don’t think it was until, as a society, we saw more of a shift in conversations about mental health, about wellness, and about how stress and anxiety can affect how healthy you are, that I looked at my life and thought, ‘oh why do I think it’s okay to sleep five hours a night? Why am I living to work instead of working to live?’ It was sort of an awakening.”

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While the pandemic has created a “forced pause” for many, Bush admitted she was trying to reconcile the gratitude she holds for being able to slow her life down with the anxiety over the reasons behind that pause.

“I’m trying to hold both gratitude for what this more still time has enabled for me, and also to hold permission to be scared, sad, and angry at the failure of the federal government to lead on this issue,” she explained. “When we think about mental health for young people, they’re so often encouraged to only celebrate the wins, to make things look perfect, to curate the Instagram page. It can be really toxic. It’s really important for us to give permission for the joys and the sadness.”

Bush’s conversation with Palacios can be seen below.

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I recently had the opportunity to have a great conversation about mental health and how we can best take care of ourselves during these strange times with @national4h teen mental health advocate Micah Palacios. We talked about coping with mental health during this global pandemic, as it’s such an unprecedented emotional experience for so many. • Teens especially. 64% of teens surveyed feel that COVID-19 will have lasting effects on their generation’s mental health. That’s big. So to help us stay positive and honor all of our feelings, whether it’s joy or sadness, we wrote affirmations for ourselves for when we need them the most. • As a 4-H alum, I’m so proud of teens like Micah who are speaking out about mental health, and honored to be invited to share my thoughts ♥️🍀 For the full conversation please visit: #Opportunity4All #CaringForOurKids

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