Voices of Youth: Teen mental health, a photo story

This story features the photography of Plamedie Ekumbaki, 15 years old, is a freshman at Kalamazoo Central High School. The Voices of Youth program is a collaboration between Southwest Michigan Second Wave and KYD Network, underwritten by the Stryker Johnston Foundation. 

Photos and captions for this are created for this story for illustration purposes and do not depict actual events.

When deciding on topics to focus on for Voices of Youth, Plamedie was drawn to youth mental health. She commented that sometimes bad days outnumber good days and that a solution is needed. Plamedie also chose to focus some of her photography on in-school violence.


This photo illustrates mental health by having two people hug as a solution. Consensual, platonic physical touch can be a huge help to another person.


In these two photos, the photographer turns the lens toward herself to allow the viewer to see how poor teenage mental health sometimes hits close to home.

This photo illustration shows one of the “problems” that lead to in-school violence. Two fists collide, exhibiting violence, rather than peace and critical thinking.