Miss South Webster Baylee Martin is reaching out to the community as she shares her personal story and her passion for preventing teen depression and suicide. Martin takes a personal touch to reach out to those in need, and shares her own struggles and adversities.
Martin’s platform for the Miss River Days contest is called “You Will Be Found,” and it is what she hopes will reach many of today’s youth who struggle with teen depression and suicide. She chose this as her platform because she has struggled with both of these problems. She also says she is a big musical “nerd,” and loves doing theatre. She felt a connection and loved the Broadway musical “Dear Evan Hansen,” and got her event title from the song “You Will Be Found.”
Martin is a member of South Webster’s Select Sound group, which will perform at her community event at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Lifepoint Church in Portsmouth. Martin says she thinks that is super inspiring, because “music moves us in a way that words can’t. When words can’t speak, music does. I’m so excited we will actually be singing the song ‘You Will Be Found’.”
Her “You Will Be Found” event is scheduled to include the movie “To Save A Life,” with interactive moments with behavioral therapist Tiffany Justice and Donna Lilly, a mother of a local teen who fought this battle. There will be free soft drinks and popcorn. Her promotion says the night will be fun, inspiring and filled with ideas on how to stay emotionally healthy and promote the same in our community. Teens and all ages who care about teens are welcome. Martin has a Facebook page — Miss South Webster 2018 — and she says on her instagram, she has the suicide hotline number and other things that can help teens who are struggling with adversities.
“I have actually been through depression and suicide contemplation about a year ago,” Martin reveals. “I was struggling with self-harm — most people mistake this as attention-seeking. Well, if I wanted attention, I would go do another musical. I get all the attention I want, but beside the point, my self-harm was on my leg. I didn’t want anybody to know, because I’m the girl who’s suppose to have it all together. I’ve been told this before, ‘you have so much, you’re entitled, you’re not entitled to feel this way.’ I’m entitled to everything else? It’s not a victim of circumstances, it’s a victim of chemical imbalances in your brain. It’s sad to see people go through this, and it’s sad to see people who couldn’t understand go through this. It’s so hard to see our community struggle with something that I’m struggling with myself.”
Martin speaks of an oxygen mask as a way to explain. She says there are people who have their “oxygen mask on and are ready to help others. I just want to help other people, but I don’t take the time to take care of myself. I want to equip people to go be that person who finds people. You don’t have to be their best friend or anything. God’s gonna put you in a situation where you are suppose to be there for someone. Be ready for it.”
Martin continues to speak of what she calls her second round of depression, and that she was really not ready for it. She was so excited to be Miss South Webster, and she wanted to use her platform to reach someone else. She wanted to spread the word. She spoke of how she was in a lot of things, but she loves that and wants to keep doing the things she does. She believes it started with a bout with the flu, and that she got behind. When she was well again, she had all this stuff she had to do. And she just crumbled beneath the weight of it. “I’m the girl who looks like she has it altogether, and I’m not.” This is why this platform is so important to her. She says so many people tell others they need to choose to be happy, and that isn’t as easy as they think. She says she believes if you have problems, it also helps you understand and be more able to help others.
It’s difficult to believe Martin struggles with these things, because she brings with her a smile that makes others want to smile. She is bouncy, and appears to be totally happy. This is why she is utterly honest about her own struggles. She says she knows there are so many people like herself who look like they have it altogether. Yet underneath, they are suffering and are afraid to admit it to anyone. She says everyday is a new battle, and she has to convince herself she is worth it.
Her most recent bout with depression a few weeks ago resulted in her checking herself into a mental facility. This, she believes, is important to tell. She uses the adage that “if your leg is broken, you get it fixed, and when your heart is broken and you feel you are not worth anything, you go to the hospital.” She doesn’t want others to be afraid to admit or do this. She feels very strongly about this. She points out how Robin Williams, who she says made other people laugh and happy, but could not help himself.
Martin participates in several things in school — mock trial, Select Sound and the “Be the change team,” which is kind of like what she is doing, because it is reaching out to others in school.
As far as monetary fundraising, she feels blessed because she has received donations from businesses and individuals alike. They have had bake sales, and she has had people donate their hours to help, donate gifts and offer ideas on how to make this day the best it can be.
Martin says her community event is going to have lots of giveaways, which is super exciting and positive — “everybody likes free things!” She says both she and Miss West Molly Taylor attend Lifepoint Church, and the church has been great to let her use their facilities. In return, all she is asking for is people’s time. She doesn’t want it to be speaking at others, but for people to experience things while they are at the event.
As her senior year is upon her, and she looks to her future. She says she has so many things she loves to do, especially traveling. “My heart is always going to be for the mental health community. I always want to have that.” She says she read that more teens die from suicide than cancer, and that really stuck with her, because she says “we don’t call it an illness,” and that’s why people don’t think of it that way. She says she may travel first after she graduates — see where that takes her — and then go on from there.
Wherever life takes her after graduation, Martin will always be looking out for others and spreading her own ray of sunshine on others. As she knows, what is on the outside is not always what’s on the inside. She’s had to learn this the hard way, but she is using her own adversities to reach out to the world.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins at 740-353-3101 ext. 1928