Adele Vogue new album

Singer Adele in 2016.


At long last, Adele's name is buzzing around the headlines again.

Anyone who follows the megastar on social media knows the announcement of her new album, "30," has been a bit of a global phenomenon. She was recently on both, yes, BOTH, covers of U.S. and British Vogue, where she gave her first interview in five years.

Her interviews cover a wide range of topics, where she answers questions in her quintessential relatable, slightly sailor-mouthed style we've all come to know and love. And whether she's talking about her divorce, weight loss or accountability as a celebrity, she's giving us a new look at owning your life. For me, those lessons are:



Admitting when you're wrong is more important than maintaining your image.

In her British Vogue interview, Adele was asked about the criticism she received for a picture posted on Instagram during the Notting Hill Carnival last year. The photo showed the pop star sporting Bantu knots while she wore a Jamaican flag bikini, which received backlash calling her out for cultural appropriation.

And yet, despite the negative comments, Adele's picture has remained on her feed. Not out of pride, however. Quite the opposite.

In the interview, she states:

"I could see comments being like, 'the nerve to not take it down,' which I totally get. But if I take it down, it's me acting like it never happened … And it did. I totally get why people felt like it was appropriating."

Never one to resist self-deprecating humor, she admits, "I didn't read the f**king room."

Sometimes learning from our mistakes is more important than saving face. And it's something that not many are willing to do, especially those with careers dependent upon public personas. I agree that taking down the photo would be, in turn, a way of erasing it all from history. By not taking it down, Adele holds both humility AND integrity.

Body positivity is no one's business but your own.

Especially when it comes to self-care. The iconic singer had also received some negative feedback regarding her weight loss, including but not limited to: loud opinions, uniformed theories and outright accusations of being a sellout.

Sellout? More like someone who prioritizes mental health.

She said in the British Vogue interview:

"It was because of my anxiety. Working out, I would just feel better. It was never about losing weight, it was always about becoming strong and giving myself as much time every day without my phone. I got quite addicted to it. I needed to get addicted to something to get my mind right."

As for why she didn't document her workout regime: "I did it for myself and not anyone else. So why would I ever share it? I don't find it fascinating. It's my body."

And to the accusatory spectators, she says, "People have been talking about my body for 12 years. They used to talk about it before I lost weight. But yeah, whatever, I don't care. You don't need to be overweight to be body positive, you can be any shape or size."

Getting real about what makes you happy—or unhappy—is the best way to set an example.

When asked about her divorce from Simon Konecki and how it had affected their young son Angelo, Adele told U.S. Vogue, "It made him really unhappy sometimes. And that's a real wound for me that I don't know if I'll ever be able to heal."

She added that the latest album, in part, was to show her son:

"Who I am and why I voluntarily chose to dismantle his entire life … If I can reach the reason why I left … if I can find that happiness and he sees me in that happiness, then maybe I'll be able to forgive myself for it … I want my son to see me really love, and be loved. It's really important to me … I've been on my journey to find my true happiness ever since."

Is there a Grammy for Best Use of an Album to Teach Your Children Self-Love? If so, that award goes to Adele.

Owning your part is the way to heal a broken heart.

Many fans who got through break-ups by belting out the lyrics to "Chasing Pavements" might be a touch disappointed by this, but: Adele's new album will not not be featuring themes of retribution and heartbreak. This is a good thing.

Instead of making a finger-pointing divorce album, Adele described "30" as "It was more me divorcing myself. Just being like, Bitch, fuckin' hot mess, get your fuckin' shit together!"

While reflecting on her previous works, she noted:

"I realized that I was the problem … all the other albums are like, You did this! You did that! Fuck you! Why can't you arrive for me? Then I was like: Oh, shit, I'm the running theme, actually. Maybe it's me!"

If only more pop artists could allow their lyrics to reflect more nuance and maturity. Sure, it might feel cathartic to sing at the top of your lungs how someone did you wrong, but where is the personal growth in that? What Adele is sharing here carries so much more value, and reminds us all to take back our own personal power.

Like many fans, I cannot wait to check out "30." I'm expecting this woman (who is the exact same age as myself) to offer the wisdom of a thousand lifetimes. If the suspense is killing you, check out a quick teaser of one of Adele's new songs below.

Adele - Easy On Me (Clip) www.youtube.com


















































Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

True

Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

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