LAND O' LAKES, Fla. — "Hi everyone, my name is Eliza Smith and I am your Miss Teen USA and I'm so excited to be doing this informational video for you."
Smith, 15, is pretty comfortable in front of the camera. The rising Junior at Land O' Lakes High School is the host of a weekly video chat on Instagram.
"I am so excited to be here with my beautiful mom. Say hello, 'Hi Everybody.'"
Smith's chats are funny, real, and also raw and revealing.
"My family is always there to support me. However, there have been times in my childhood where there were negative things," explains Smith.
Her platform, "Be bold, be beautiful, be you," is all about bringing mental illness awareness to the forefront.
" I'm really passionate about it. Because my mom actually struggles with depression. And it runs in my family, a lot of my family over in Suriname have depression as well. And it's something that I personally do with as well, as well as anxiety. So I do know what it's like to struggle with these things," explains Smith.
She's sharing her story hoping it'll save lives.
She's teamed up with National Alliance on Mental Illness in Pasco County to encourage teens who might be struggling with mental health to speak up.
"It really saddens me that we live in a society where we can't really talk openly about our mental health problems without having depression and anxiety. So I want to do what I can to just bring education and awareness," she explains.
If you or someone you know needs mental health help, you can reach out to NAMI Pasco byclicking here or call them at 727-992-9653.