The White House, East Room

11:03 A.M. EDT

THE FIRST LADY:  Okay, I guess — yes, there we go.  Thank you.  And welcome to the White House.  (Applause.) 

You know, I just love seeing so many bright, young faces here.  There’s just so much energy in this room.  So, thank you for being here.  

You know, everyone is here today because they have a personal connection to this issue.  Right?  And our nation’s Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, has worked hard.  (Applause.)  Yes, let’s give him a round of applause.  

So Vivek has worked hard to build a movement of support for those who struggle with their mental health.  And Selena Gomez — (applause) — has been courageously outspoken about her own challenges.  

And, Selena, I’m so glad that your mom is here!  (Laughter.)  Where are you, Mom? 

MS. GOMEZ:  Where is she?  She’s over there in the corner.

THE FIRST LADY:  Oh, there she is.  (Applause.)  Mandy, you must be so proud of your daughter.  

MS. GOMEZ:  She’s crying.  (Laughter.)  

THE FIRST LADY:  And all of you on this stage and in our audience are here today because you, too, have shown incredible resilience and determination to help us find a better way forward.  And I hope you all realize, really, just how special that is.  

You know, from the schools that are reopened, to the businesses that are thriving, to unemployment that’s falling, we can just look around and see really how far we’ve come since March of 2020.  Think back of where we were back then.  

You know, our world doesn’t feel so small and dark any longer.  We’re recovering every single day, but recovery isn’t always the same as healing.  And sometimes the darkness is inside of us too.  

And over the last decade, an alarming number of young people have struggled with mental health challenges.  And the pandemic has made it so much worse, hasn’t it?

You know the isolation, the anxiety, and, yes, the grief, they are wounds that sometimes go unseen, too often cloaked in secrecy and shame.  

But young people don’t have to face these challenges alone. Right, Vivek?  No one does.  

You know, our daughter, Ashley, is a social worker.  And she comes — you know, she used to come home every day when we all lived together and tell us about her — the challenges, about the kinds of trauma that she sees in her work.  And she — but she also shares the hope she feels when she’s able to help.  And I know that there are a lot of people here today who offer that same help.  And I want to thank all of you here in the audience who do that.  So, thank you.  (Applause.) 

The darkness inside of us can feel heavy at times.  But we can share the weight of it together, and we can help bring those feelings and experiences into the light.  

And that’s why I’m so grateful to all of you here.  It takes courage to, you know, be honest about the struggles that you faced and to tell your stories.  And it takes courage to understand that your voice can make a difference and to show your creativity and talents, you know, to all of the world.  

So, I’m so proud of everyone here today.  And the President is proud of you too.  In “The Hill We Climb,” the poem the — that the National Youth — Na- — Poet Laureate — you might remember this from our inauguration.  Yes, who doesn’t love Amanda Gorman?  (Laughter.)  

So, Amanda Gorman wrote, “There is always light, if we’re only brave enough to see it.  If we’re only brave enough to be it.”  And I see that illumination in each one of you.  

So, I want you to keep showing up for each other, keep being brave.  I know it’s hard.  And keep helping us find the light that we all need.  

So, thank you all — all of you.  Thank you so much for being here.  

                         END                 11:08 A.M. EDT  

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