Kyle Shih’s Search For Silver Linings


Charlotte Nguyen

Photo of Kyle Shih with his Silver Linings work book. (Photo taken by Charlotte Nguyen)

Charlotte Nguyen, Team Leader

At the beginning of 2022 Kyle Shih, a senior student-athlete at Huntington Beach High School (HBHS), created the organization called Searching for Silver Linings. The organization is dedicated to bringing awareness to mental health, specifically for those who are student-athletes, like Shih himself. Silver Linings strives to build a safe and welcoming community for those struggling with the mental aspect of the sport they’re in.

When interviewed, Shih the HBHS senior said he wanted to create something with a lasting impact.

I created Searching for Silver Linings as a way to bring awareness on the topic of mental health and to give people resources they can use to help themselves, whether that be mental or physical. Society commonly sees people talk about the mental health crisis, but I wanted to do more than just talk about it. I wanted to create something that can have a lasting impact on the person that’s utilizing the brand’s resources like our book and podcast.”

Searching for Silver Linings Logo Created by Kyle Shih. (Photography by: Charlotte Nguyen)

In an Instagram post introducing himself and the brand, Shih expresses the stress he felt from expectations to get good grades and times. He confessed that the stigma around mental health has made him view his challenges as “weaknesses.”

“For many years I struggled with mental health in school and swim, getting into very dark and depressive states. But I tried not to show it because I felt like it would make me seem weak, and I didn’t want it to affect anyone,” said Shih.

Shih also revealed that it was his constant comparison and expectations that put him in this unhealthy state. “I found my self-worth in test scores and time standards that didn’t show who I actually am as a person.” 

Shih’s work comes at the right time given that mental health issues are very prevalent in today’s society. Now that the topic is being discussed more, it is also being studied as well. A study done by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) states that over half of the athletes surveyed had mental health concerns.

The article also added that “69% of women’s sports participants and 63% of men’s sports participants agreed or strongly agreed that they know where to go on campus if they have mental health concerns.” 

Work book Cover Created By Kyle Shih
Image by, and for Kyle Shih’s Searching for Silver Linings organization. (Photography by: Charlotte Nguyen)

In addition, a study by the American College of Sports Medicine says that student-athletes often experience eating disorders, burnout, or symptoms of anxiety and depression. “Approximately 35% of athletes suffer from disordered eating, burnout, depression, and/ or anxiety.” 

So what are Silver Linings doing to help the community battle these statistics? As of right now, the organization has mental health workbooks concerning mental and physical health, in addition, to a podcast discussing how one can better maintain their own mental health.

In the future, Shih hopes to create more podcast episodes and reach out to more people within the community.

“We currently are working on getting more podcast episodes out on Spotify, but more importantly we are striving to connect with the people. Part of building those meaningful relationships with the local community is being honest and vulnerable. It makes everyone feel a little bit more connected to each other knowing that we aren’t going through a problem alone,” Shih expressed.

When asked for tips he would give to those currently struggling, Shih said, “For anyone struggling, avoid comparison. A lot of times we find validation in ourselves by comparing our attributes and accomplishments to other people. It’s a constant battle with ourselves that makes us focus on the negative and distracts us from appreciating ourselves.”

Shih explains how we are each our own person and that numbers don’t define a person’s worth.

“The truth is, each person has a quality to themselves that no other person can offer. You are your own unique individual. So take pride in that. Especially with college application season in full effect, seniors often get caught up in comparing their grades, GPA, scores, etc. I even found myself doing this at one point over the summer. But all this is doing is distracting you from focusing your energy on yourself. So for this year coming up, as an athlete, student, and human being, know that you can bring value anywhere you go. You are focusing on being a better version of yourself than you were yesterday. And remember… You Are Enough.”