Hi Everyone! So today I want to talk a little bit about my platform, ‘Promoting Mental Health and Confidence in Teens with Diabetes’. 

I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 11. I was very sick and learned that I would need to have 3+ needles daily for the rest of my life, in addition to dozens of finger pokes every day. I had to learn to balance what I ate with the exact amount of insulin, because too little wouldn’t be enough leaving me feeling sick and too much could cause me to go low and potentially die. I was lucky though. I had a very supportive tribe of family, friends and community members who learned what was needed to keep me safe and encourage me to keep meeting my personal goals and challenges.

However, even with all of the support, I started to feel exhausted and tired of the constant work of managing my disease. I was physically tired from being woken up during the night to have my blood sugars checked and starting to get embarrassed when I would have to sit out of gym class or sports to drink a juice box due to being “low”. Once I got my insulin pump and CGM I started to feel insecure because now people could SEE that I was different. I would be out in public and strangers would ask me what was attached to my arm, tummy or leg. One man I remember even called me a “bionic girl”. While he was trying to be funny, I was mortified.

I got depressed. I suffered extreme anxiety. I developed OCD.

With a lot of hard work and time I have grown more comfortable and confident in sharing my story. I don’t mind when people ask about my pump now, because I am now proud to be different. I started an instagram page dedicated to diabetes and I decided to apply to be a JDRF Youth Ambassador. They quickly put me to work speaking out about a variety of diabetes issues and I am even the face of a new campaign called the Mental Health Accelerate Campaign. Being featured on the cover of the first issue of this informative and educational magazine has been a huge honour. ( You can find a PDF version of the magazine on my Instagram page @missteenagewoodlandscounty2021)

Some facts that I would like to share with you from JDRF about Type 1 diabetes before I go are:
Over 300,000 Canadians have Type 1 Diabetes and the number is growing every day.
20% of youth with T1D have anxiety,
They are 2X more likely to develop an eating disorder and,
They are up to 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with depression

If I were to be your Miss Teenage Canada 2021 I would be able to use my title to promote my platform on an even larger scale and hopefully be part of a solution in helping to increase mental health and confidence in teens with diabetes. I encourage any youths, diabetic or not, who are feeling anxious or depressed to talk to somebody about it and ask for the support that they need.

Thank you for taking the time to learn a little bit about me and my platform.

Talk soon💕

Jenna
Miss Teenage Woodlands County 2021

Written by: Jenna