world news for smart teens

Ernest Mateo Cisneros takes action to end mental health stigmas

this is part of Change Makers, WONKedition's interview series showcasing Gen Z stars taking action to change the world

January 2021
Meet the co-founder of One Simple Question:

Who are you?
My name is Ernest Mateo Cisneros. I’m 19 years old. I live in Colton, California, and I am the Co-Founder of One Simple Question as well as a freshman at California State University, San Marcos. My partner and Co-Founder of One Simple Question, Jorge Alvarez, lives in Rancho Cucamonga and is an assistant principal at Colton High School in Colton, California. He is also a doctoral student at San Diego State University in San Diego, California.

What’s One Simple Question?
The One Simple Question initiative aims to fight the mental health stigma that prevents many adults and young people from accessing vital resources they need in critical moments of their lives. We ask people from all walks of life such as teens and adults, famous and every-day people, one simple question. What do you do to lift yourself up when you are feeling down? Thereby, showing the world that we all deal with mental health issues. Yes, even your mom and dad, your teacher, your principal, famous athletes, and TV stars! Most importantly, One Simple Question aims to connect those in need of mental health resources with a site with curated videos that display simple strategies on how we can all practice self-care, mindfulness, and wellness.

Why did you start One Simple Question?
With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, we decided to think outside the box in order to maintain the conversation around mental health alive even during the period of school closures. It was then that they began to set in motion their plans to start an online repertoire of curated videos with strategies on how to overcome mental issues. That's when One Simple Question was born. The idea is to create conversations with real people all around the world about their tips, tricks, and experiences when they're feeling down. Hence the question, "What do you do to lift yourself up when you are feeling down?" With your help, we hope to shine light on the stigma attached to mental health and provide resources to help heal the world.

Where do you see yourself and One Simple Question one year from now?
Right now, we are just a website with an initiative and hope to end mental health stigmas and provide quick and simple resources to help people in their times of need. Our goal for One Simple Question is to become a working nonprofit organization with the same goals but bigger and better initiatives and outreach. Our first and top priority is to reach as many people who are struggling and offer them our gathered resources as a sign of hope and a resource of something to try. We are currently working on starting a podcast to follow our videos and continue outreach as well as thinking about new questions to help reaching people in need.

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Check out previous interviews with more Gen Z stars taking action to change the world: Change Makers

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