Dark Secrets: Live It Out camp helps at-risk teens deal with anxiety and depression

Today's teens face a unique set of problems only they can relate to. it's why one group of teens in The Woodlands is on a mission to support their peers, to help each other grow and  succeed. 

For two weeks, teens at the Live it Out Camp in The Woodlands worked together to come up with ways to make the environment plastic free.

The kids come from all different kinds of backgrounds, each facing their own unique challenges.

“During the camp, I realized I could do things that I didn't know I could do before,” says Krista Werschitz.

“i had been really unsure of what I wanted to study in college and this camp helped me a lot because we talk about business, marketing, and finance,” says ian de Koster.

Juliana Esparza wanted to help teens like Krista and ian become better leaders and communicators. it’s part of the reason she created the non-profit program three years ago when she just 16 years old. 

“The first camp, we had around 40 teens and now we have 85, so it's a huge hug from God,” says Juliana.

Juliana was inspired to help kids stay in school after several of her classmates dropped out. She and other local teens decided to create Live it Out to help lead others on a path to success.  

“i thought, why not motivate teens to discover their potential, whether it's not dropping out of high school, whether it's  thinking positively about themselves, thinking that they're worthy,” says Juliana.

Camp director, Franco Soldi says it's not always easy to get them to open up, but he constantly pushes them to step outside their comfort zone. 

“A lot of those kids don't know who they are, how valuable they are, how much they can accomplish,” says Soldi.

“You have kids that are facing something like depression, you have kids that are top of their classes, but this diversity is part of the recipe when you put all this together is when you create great results,” he says.

14-year-old Mia Aldana is one of this year's camp participants. She admits she struggled with depression and anxiety.

“it was just very emotional and hard to be with myself,” says Mia.

She says the pressures of being a teen started to take its toll, leading to thoughts of suicide.

"I knew that wasn't right for me, but it was still hard because even though you're a teen, even though you have different problems, it's still hard dealing with yourself at times and controlling it is kind of hard,” says Mia. 

“The first time I self-harmed, I was so hopeless, I wanted to die. I couldn't deal with it, it was so stressful,” says Krista.

Stress and depression often stems from many different struggles.

“For me, it was the perfect image of a girl because I knew that I wasn't in that category, like I  wasn't considered perfect, I was considered more of like ugly in a way,” says Krista. 

The problem for most teens is not knowing who to turn to for help.

“I needed someone to talk to, someone who I could express my emotions to,” says Krista.

“I'm with my mom a lot, she was always there for me my dad as well, but teens relate to teens, that's what impacts you more," says Mia.

Live It Out is all about teens helping teens, and that’s what’s helped them face their fears and wipe away their tears.

“We build bonds and I think that's what a lot of teens don't have today because of social media. We break a lot of bonds, we break a lot of trust and we're not connecting as humans,” says Mia.

But on this day, they're connecting with each other and motivating one another to  live out their very best life.

“As we say here, we have to live life ridiculously. In order to do that, you have to enjoy life, but to enjoy life, you have to be determined to keep looking forward,” says Mia.