TikTok Inspires Brothers To Start Website for Teens Struggling With Mental Health
When Phoenix teen Carter Kroeger first started his TikTok account, @carterryan33, he only intended to showcase his music. He sings and plays the guitar and, as an eighth grader, would post covers of tracks like "Get You," by Daniel Caeser. But when he received a comment from a user that said, "You saved my life this morning," he was inspired to use social media in a different way—to support fellow kids' mental health.
Kroeger and his brother Ashton, who is a two-time Division III state champion in tennis at Phoenix Country Day School, banded together to shoot music videos that increasingly began to look more professional and with soothing backdrops.
Then, this past summer, they started a website called PersevereProject.org.
On the site they note that they were just two TikTok creators who, motivated by their followers, began to aspire to do "something more." They created an official platform that "gives teens the power to express, get support, and find the strength to face their fears," the site reads.
The mission statement notes: "We hope to initiate up-front conversations on mental health, emotional struggles, and physical changes we go through. Together, we aim to move past the discomfort of talking about the teenage experience and normalize open discussions on feelings and insecurities."
The Perservere Project site also features the brothers' tips on socializing, healthy living and coping strategies as well as their favorite inspirational quotes and resources. Of course there are also plenty of videos for "when you're too overwhelmed to function."
In a recent USA Today feature, the brothers acknowledge they're not licensed mental health care providers, but they hope they can point peers who reach out to them in the right direction.
"It was definitely tricky at first to figure out how to respond," Carter told the publication. "You have to talk more about the feelings that the person is feeling themselves and talk about how you would deal with the situation."
They also reach out to their parents and mentors if they're stuck on how to engage with their followers.
No doubt the brothers are committed to this important cause. The next step: Carter and Ashton want to "create a way to have people go to professionals if they need it." They're sure to inspire plenty of teens along the way.
The National Suicide Prevention Line is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 in English and 1-888-628-9454 in Spanish. It's free and confidential for those in distress who need prevention or crisis resources for themselves or loved ones.