CONCORD, N.H. (CBS) – Conversations about mental health can be difficult for many adults to have. But fifth grader Charlie Olsen is not shying away from tackling a serious issue.
“During the quarantine, I became depressed, and I know a lot of other people are too and I want to help them,” Charlie said.READ MORE: I-Team: Kids In Crisis Spend Weeks In Emergency Room Waiting For Mental Health Services
He was recently elected New Hampshire’s 2021 Kid Governor, and he’s making it his mission to help kids, like him, who have experienced depression.
In one of his recent videos, Charlie highlighted that about 44,000 kids in New Hampshire are diagnosed with depression, and that doesn’t even include the kids who go undiagnosed.
Charlie says he has a plan to help get his peers through this tough time.
“I’m definitely going to make public service announcements, like ads on TV and the radio, about how you don’t have to do it alone. . . and there’s going to be activities during the National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month and Day. And we’re also going to make activities in school that raise awareness of mental health, including poster competitions,” Charlie said.
“I’m also going to make a group called CAST, Children’s Awareness Support Team, to connect with kids and mentor them and get them through it. I’m also going to make a positivity social network, so people can talk to each other and make them feel better.”READ MORE: Worcester Businesses Hope WooSox Help Them Bounce Back From COVID Pandemic
The Kid Governor’s first family is behind him all the way.
“At this age, we feel it’s really important to identify how you’re feeling physically, and the impact that how you’re feeling emotionally has on your physical being,” said Cheryl Olsen, Charlie’s mom.
His sister also threw her support behind her brother.
“I’m super proud of my brother, and I think he’s gonna do a really great job,” she said.
Meanwhile, his dad, Erik Olsen, says his son has even taught him new lessons.
“He’s got a story to tell around how he got through this, and just that mentoring and conversation, knowing that you’re not alone, and I think he’s doing a great job telling the story. And I’m learning a lot from him, honestly, on his bravery and ability to stand up and talk about this, so he’s gonna do a great job,” Erik Olsen said.MORE NEWS: TD Garden Capacity Increases As Bruins Head Into Playoffs
Charlie will be sworn in during a ceremony at the State House in Concord next month. His adult counterpart, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu will be there, as Charlie begins his term as the state’s Kid Governor for the year 2021.