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Saniya Soni

School: Drexel University
Major: Psychology, Criminal Justice (minor)
Class level: Junior

Mental health activism is one of my greatest passions. I have been working with The Jed Foundation since my freshman year, and as a student ambassador, I’ve organized mental wellness workshops on Drexel University’s campus for students of color based on JED’s Equity in Mental Health Framework. I also volunteer at Drexel’s Peer Counseling Helpline, an anonymous and confidential helpline for Drexel students. I co-host a podcast that addresses mental health stigma in South Asian American communities, have participated in JED’s Storytelling program, spoken on behalf of the Jed Foundation at the 2019 annual EPIC Gala, and shared my story with Morgan Stanley for their Alliance for Children’s Mental Health initiative. 

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The World Health Organization defines “mental health” “as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” In using this definition, S2i recognizes that some mental health challenges reflect brain diseases that, like physical diseases, require appropriate stigma-free and patient-centered care and include both mental health and substance use disorders. Other mental health challenges stem from social conditions and marginalization and require different forms of interventions.