This article originally appeared on 2.25.15


This whole thing started when actress Zendaya Coleman showed up at the 2015 Oscars rocking a new hairstyle.

But it was Giuliana Rancic's comments about her hairstyle on E!'s "Fashion Police" that really struck a nerve.

"I feel like she smells like patchouli oil ... or weed." — Giuliana Rancic

Zendaya took to Twitter with a poignant response about the importance of respecting and understanding the dynamics of black hair.

"There is already harsh criticism of African American hair in society without the help of ignorant people who choose to judge others based on the curl of their hair. My wearing my hair in locs on an Oscar red carpet was to showcase them in a positive light, to remind people of color that our hair is good enough. To me locs are a symbol of strength and beauty, almost like a lion's mane." — Zendaya Coleman

After tons of people weighed in on the comments and Zendaya's reply, Giuliana issued this eloquent and sincere apology via YouTube.


"I'd really like to address something that is weighing very heavy on my heart. I want to apologize for a comment that I made on last night's "Fashion Police" about Zendaya's hair. Now as you know, "Fashion Police" is a show that pokes fun at celebrities in good spirit, but I do understand something I said last night did cross the line. I just want everyone to know that I didn't intend to hurt anybody. But I've learned it is not my intent that matters; it's the result. And the result is that people are offended, including Zendaya. That is not OK.



Therefore, I want to say to Zendaya, and anyone else out there that I have hurt, that I am so, so sincerely sorry. This really has been a learning experience for me — I've learned a lot today — and this incident has taught me to be a lot more aware of cliches and stereotypes, how much damage they can do, and that I am responsible, as we all are, to not perpetuate them further. Thank you for listening." – Giuliana Rancic

Now tell me that isn't a damn good apology!? So damn good I just had to swear! And I had to do it twice! Damn! Three times!


What makes Giuliana's apology so successful and so different from the faux apologies we're used to?

Usually people make the mistake of saying, "I'm sorry *if* you were offended," which totally misses the point of apologizing. If someone says something you've said or done has hurt their feelings, of course they're offended! There's no need to throw *if* in there. Also, "I'm sorry you were offended" — "if" or no "if" — puts the blame on the person who's been hurt as opposed to taking responsibility for your actions that *caused* the hurt. In stark contrast, Giuliana's apology nails the two things most necessary for a genuine apology.

Lucky for you, not long ago I made a video about getting called out and how to apologize where I covered these two very components.


And while taking responsibility for your behavior and making a commitment to change really isn't that difficult, this seems to be something many people — celebs and non-celebs — tend to struggle with.

Remember, apologies aren't about intent, they're about impact.

The other thing that makes Giuliana's apology so great is that she acknowledged that her intent isn't the problem, her impact is. Think of it this way: If you step on someone's foot and break their toe, you didn't mean to break their toe, but it's still broken and it still hurts! So it's important to remember to apologize for what you did, not what you did or didn't mean to do. I gotta say, when I first wrote about Giuliana's comments on Zendaya's hair, I didn't expect such a swift and efficient apology. But homegirl really nailed it.

I think the most important lesson here is to remember that as humans, we're all bound to make mistakes. But with every mistake, there's always an opportunity to learn and grow if you're willing to listen, apologize, and do the work. If you've ever had a situation you had to learn from or know someone who could use a brush up on how to apologize, consider giving this post a share!

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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"Rules are a bit more rigid, attention and validation is directed and somewhat excessive," Niro Feliciano, LCSW, a psychotherapist and anxiety specialist, told Parents. "As a result, firstborns tend to be leaders, high achievers, people-pleasing, rule-following and conscientious, several of the qualities that tend to predict success."

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