Student receives youth mental health leadership award
At Fox Chapel Area High School, Abby is involved with social activism and the peer-to-peer empowerment program, and also serves as a member of the school’s diversity council. According to Fox Chapel Area High School counselor Rachel Machen, Abby is a natural leader whose efforts make a true difference for her peers. “I see how, even within our high school, Abby is trying to create change and reduce that stigma around mental health,” Machen says. Fox Chapel School District offers students multiple layers of support in mental health services and programming, including outpatient counseling service to families during the school day through a partnership with Family Behavioral Resources.
In the community, Abby is the founder of The Second Floor Teen Wellness Committee at the Jewish Community Center, a group formed to empower teens to educate peers about different mental health topics. Additionally, she serves as a teen advisory council member for UpStreet, a teen drop-in therapy service through Pittsburgh Jewish Family and Community Services. Abby is also a student advocate with the Jewish Healthcare Foundation’s Youth Advocacy Committee focused on teen mental health in Southwestern Pennsylvania. She helped design and implement the “Igniting A Youth Advocacy Movement” that focused on destigmatizing mental health, building safe and inclusive communities in schools, and increasing school resources for mental health services. She has also spearheaded two social justice symposiums that focused on the intersection of social equity, diversity, and inclusivity.
Abby will receive the award on February 5 as part of the NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania Child, Adolescent, and Transition Age Youth Mental Health Virtual Conference. She will be given a $500 scholarship and a commemorative plaque as part of the award.
NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania is the state organization in Pennsylvania for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the largest grassroots mental health organization in the country. NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children, adolescents, adults, and families affected by mental illness through recovery-focused support, education, and advocacy.