Changing the Conversation about Mental Health

By Natasha Mayer

When Sophie Riegel first began teaching about anxiety, she was in seventh grade. Sophie had experienced bullying because of her obsessive compulsive disorder, so she planned a presentation for her class about what OCD means, and how it impacts her. Media representations of OCD typically center on a person who cleans and organizes a lot, but that is only one possible presentation of many. Sophie educated her classmates about the two components of OCD: obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions, both of which can be experienced and expressed in myriad ways. Sophie believes that by educating peers and adults on anxiety and other mental health concerns, she can help teens with mental illnesses find the help they need and gain better acceptance in their communities. To increase awareness and reach a wide audience, Sophie authored a book detailing her mental health journey: Don’t Tell Me To Relax! One Teen’s Journey to Survive Anxiety (and How You Can Too.)

In addition to being a published author, the Duke-bound high school senior is also the board presentment of Here.Now, a teen-driven movement to reduce stigma and increase awareness of mental health in the Jewish community, in partnership with The Jewish Board. She is also the recipient of the Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center of Nassau County’s Friedlander Upstander Award.

 

Join us on Wednesday, February 27th at 5:00 pm at Hear Them Roar – Amplifying Young Voices to learn from Sophie and other women who are transforming the culture for young women and girls.

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