Recent Colton High School graduate Ernest Mateo Cisneros and CHS Assistant Principal Jorge Alvarez have started a new website project called One Simple Question (OneSimpleQuestion.org) to help those struggling with mental health issues during this difficult time.
“The One Simple Question initiative aims to fight the mental health stigma that prevents many adults and young people from accessing vital resources they need in critical moments of their lives,” stated Mr. Cisneros. “We ask people from all walks of life such as teens and adults, famous and everyday people, one simple question: What do you do to lift yourself up when you are feeling down?”
The idea, he said, is to demonstrate that everybody deals with mental health issues.
“Most importantly, One Simple Question aims to connect those in need of mental health resources with a site with curated videos that display simple strategies on how we can all practice self-care, mindfulness, and wellness,” he said.
Mr. Alvarez said the idea for the One Simple Question project was born at the Aspen Ideas Festival, which both he and Mr. Cisneros attended in 2019 as Bezos Scholars.
“As we discussed what strategies we would offer on the website and where we would pull them from, we realized that we all deal with mental health problems such as stress, anxiety, and mild depression sometimes. At the same time, we recognized that we all have our own strategies to deal with these difficult moments in our lives. This is not to discredit expert advice for those who need clinical treatment or medication. However, for the everyday cases in which we could benefit from the advice of a friend, we realized the value in the stories and experiences of real people from our community,” Alvarez said.
“With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, we decided to think outside the box in order to maintain the conversation around mental health.” Cisneros said. “The idea is to create conversations with real people all around the world about their tips, tricks, and experiences when they’re feeling down.”
“Our short term goal is to continue to meet with people from our community willing to make a statement to fight the mental health crisis and show that we are all in this together,” Alvarez added.
The One Simple Question Initiative is a continuation of the pair’s extensive work to support mental wellness. In 2019, they coordinated a TEDx conference at Colton High School focused on mental health. Working with other students and CJUSD leaders, they also spearheaded the development of a Wellness Club and Wellness Center at Colton High School.
Last March, the Wellness Club coordinated and hosted the district’s first Wellness Fair (just days before Governor Gavin Newsom issued the Stay at Home order related to the pandemic). A second virtual Wellness Fair is planned for this spring.
To get involved and help be a part of the solution to the mental health crisis, visit OneSimpleQuestion.org. Under the “Get Involved” tab, you can fill out an interest form to have a conversation with us and share your tips and tricks or you can record your own message following the guidelines also provided on the website. Please also feel free to email email@example.com.