Student-led mental health site wins top prize

Apr. 29—LIMA — A forthcoming student-run website connecting youth to mental health services won $1,500 Monday from the Lima Rotary Club and the United Way of Greater Lima.

"We know what teenagers are going through," said Leila Hannouz, a junior at Elida High School who helped pitch Mental Match for Allen-Lima Youth Leadership.

Thirty-six students from 10 Allen County high schools participated in ALL's youth leadership program this year.

Students divided into four groups to develop and pitch community service projects, with the goal of winning seed money to make their pitches a reality. Members of the Lima Rotary Club voted on the projects at their meeting Monday at Veterans Memorial Civic Center.

The winning proposal Monday came from Mental Match, a website created by teens, for teens seeking therapy and coping strategies for depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation and other struggles.

Hannouz said teens struggle with procrastination, perfectionism and anxiety, often fueled by unrealistic standards set by social media and the pressures of high school.

Today's teens are living in a different world than their parents, Hannouz said, so "it's best that we tackle our problems, and when we grow up and we're adults, we can hopefully pass on the website to the next generation of teens."

Other projects pitched Monday include a proposed peer-to-peer addiction and substance abuse prevention group, a lunchroom waste reduction program for Allen East and a shoe collection drive.


Allen East: Abbey Hunsaker, Alana Staley, Joy Hesler, Sierra Studer and Tanner Paxon.

Bath: Jackson Kohlrieser, Tatum Walsh and Trey Welsch.

Bluffton: Kaleigh Coffman and McKay Tuttle.

Elida: Abbie Kaye, Addysen Sneary, Arleigh Amspoker, Carson Wright, Chloe Miller, Jaleena Howard, Julia Korzan and Leila Hannouz.

Lima Central Catholic: Alexa Heffner, Andrew Baldauf, Chibuike Ibeneme, Emily Blankemyer and Jennifer Nguyen.

Ottawa-Glandorf: Anna Trinko, Gretchen Whitacre and Katie Kaufman.

Pandora-Gilboa: Adam Buell and Jack Buell.

Perry: Xzavier Briggs.

Shawnee: Ava Patel, Matthew Stiles and Tate Bender.

Temple Christian: Emma Engle, Malachi Menke and Moria Szuch.