Sania | Senior in High School | Co-founder of @ReviveOrg, an organization dedicated to reducing the stigma associated with mental health by sharing stories, studies, and performing service | Co-author of @TMHBook, a non-fiction book dedicated to raising awareness about teen mental health | Passionate about drawing, reading old literature, mental health advocacy, and volunteering in my community | Texas, USA
1) THE BEST THING THAT HAPPENED TO YOU IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS? Definitely launching and operating Revive, getting to write a book, and finding myself again in the midst of all of it. I’ve also learned to be grateful for everybody, everything, and every opportunity I’ve gotten in my life and am glad that I found it in me to fight for a cause as important as mental health.
2) THE WORST THING THAT HAPPENED TO YOU IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS? This is probably a cliche answer, but the Pandemic for sure. While I (thankfully) didn’t lose any of my loved ones to it, it hurts to think about the people who did. On a more personal note, I lost one of my pet parakeets a few weeks ago so I’m still trying to heal from that.
3) YOUR BIGGEST WISH FOR THE NEAR FUTURE? I wish mental healthcare would become equitable. A lot of people, especially teens, are uninsured and cannot afford to spend hundreds on each session. And on top of that, there’s also racial profiling added to the mix a lot of times, and all in all...mental health care should NOT be a luxury or politicized.
4) YOUR BIGGEST WORRY FOR THE NEAR FUTURE? I’m going into my senior year of high school so I definitely have some college worries plaguing my mind currently.
5) A CONTEMPORARY WOMAN THAT YOU CURRENTLY ADMIRE? I have a long list of women I admire, but the first one that comes to mind is Glenn Close because, besides being a phenomenal actress, she's also an advocate who has done a lot to decrease the stigma around mental health.
6) A ONE-SENTENCE MESSAGE TO OTHER WOMEN? From Harriet Tubman and Marie Curie to Ruth Bader Ginsburg and AOC, women have done amazing things in the past and will continue to do so, so always remember that a mere “F” on your birth certificate shouldn’t dictate what you are and aren’t capable of doing.
THE WORLD HAS BEEN CHANGING DRAMATICALLY IN RECENT MONTHS:
7) HOW ARE YOU COPING? By counting my blessings and prioritizing gratitude. I think many of us take a lot of things for granted and we should always remind ourselves just how lucky we are. It’s ignorant to whine about not getting to go out during a health crisis or wearing a piece of fabric on your face to protect others, because a lot of people in the world are going through bigger issues, like not having a roof over their heads or having to beg for even a bottle of water. Gratitude is so important, especially in times like these.
8) WHICH CHANGE OR EVENT HAS AFFECTED YOU THE MOST / HAD THE BIGGEST IMPACT ON YOU PERSONALLY? I used to volunteer a lot before, but I honestly did it just to receive hours for school. This past year, however, I started to volunteer more to genuinely help others and that has changed a lot for me. It opened my eyes to the struggles that many people face on a daily basis and allowed me to recognize just how crucial it is to fight for certain causes, even if they don’t directly affect you.
9) WHAT ARE YOU MOST CONCERNED ABOUT THE RIGHT NOW? Recently, we saw a lot of athletes step up and raise awareness about their own mental health struggles. That was amazing. However, a lot of the responses weren’t. It really sucked how a lot of people were calling the athletes dramatic or even shaming them for prioritizing their mental health over winning a material object/title. Mental health conditions may seem trivial from surface-level, but they’re actually very threatening and should be taken seriously.