In today’s fast-paced world, it remains a daily struggle to find time to focus on our own well-being while also juggling daily duties and obligations. Whether it is your career, academics, relationships, or other various commitments, maintaining your mental and emotional health often falls by the wayside. This is especially difficult for teenagers growing up in the age of digital technology and social media. 

For recent Wheeler High School graduate, Zac Adkins, it was by overcoming his own personal challenges and obstacles that he fully realized the importance of prioritizing mental health and physical wellness. This inspired him to start his own business, One Percent Harder (OPH).  

“I started One Percent Harder because I was physically and mentally tired and needed to make a change. Taking small steps was a perfect way to keep working towards my goals without getting overwhelmed,” Adkins said. “Life is busy and people are  constantly taking on so many things that they forget to  focus on themselves…One Percent Harder encourages  people to focus on both mental and physical wellness.” 

From there, what simply started as merchandise and  attire being sold to remind others to work “one percent  harder” each day towards improving their mental health  quickly grew into a school-wide movement. When students took notice of him wearing his merchandise every  Wednesday and heard his story, sales increased and others  began to join him in providing mental health awareness. 

Once Principal Paul Gillihan noticed its popularity, he  encouraged Adkins to launch a club devoted to helping  other teens take care of their personal issues. Known as  the OPH Club, Adkins continues to work hard to assure  others that “they are not alone.” 

“After talking to fellow classmates and friends at  church, I knew I needed to create a community where  we keep each other accountable and work towards  our goals,” Adkins said. “…Talking about mental health is  very important in today’s busy, high-pressure world.” 

The school’s OPH Club serves as an accountability  group that discusses a specific topic and challenges  participants to set goals and work each day to achieve  them. It creates an open forum for teens to talk about  issues in support of each other.  

In support of evangelizing the notion that mental  and emotional health is equally as important as  physical health, the club is currently raising funds for a  professional mental health counseling initiative at the  school. While Adkins continues to donate 10 percent of  his merchandise proceeds to the OPH Fund, he is working  hard to receive further support from the community to  help hit their ultimate goal of $50,000. 

“East Cobbers can help first by talking about mental  health. It is most important that teenagers know that it  is okay not to be okay,” Adkins said. “People care more  about you than you know and the first step is to make  more people aware of the mental health crisis.” 

The fund is steadily growing to provide every Wheeler  student in need with access to a counselor with whom  they can speak openly. Adkins ultimately hopes that  more East Cobb schools will follow suit and implement  their own OPH Club into their program. 

“I will help set up the club at any school that wants an OPH Club to be a part of their system,” Adkins firmly stated. 

To learn more about One Percent Harder, purchase  merchandise, or see how you can donate, visit www. or follow and interact with @onepercentharder on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.