Gen Z Voices: Maya Dawson says mental health needs to be brought into school curriculum

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Maya Dawson in the CPR Studio. Oct. 21, 2022.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Maya Dawson in the CPR Studio. Oct. 21, 2022.

When Maya Dawson was a little girl, she drew a picture in her diary. It was a kitchen blender. And inside, spinning around and around was a big, black lump. 

“It’s the first time I can remember not having the words to express my emotions,” said Dawson.

Today, she’s a senior at Conifer High School in Jefferson County, but that drawing still comes to mind from time to time.

She believes that while so much is being done to help students address mental health in school– actually integrating it into a school’s everyday curriculum would make a huge difference.

Last year, she gave a TEDxYouth at Cherry Creek talk called, “Mental Health In Schools — We’re Doing It Wrong.” 

She’s one of a number of Colorado Front Range Gen Z students CPR News spoke to about their own TEDxYouth talks. They range from the importance of mental health, to why pronouns matter, and how important education funding is for indigenous youth and teens of color.

The next TEDxYouth at Cherry Creek event will take place March 4.

Explore other Colorado Front Range Gen Z voices: