Boston College has provided me with an eye-opening opportunity to challenge social injustices within my community and to dive deeper into some of the root factors that solidify such patterns. One of these root causes, that I in particular have a deep passion for, is mental health. Both in my studies at Boston College, as an Applied Psychology and Human Development major, and through my summer internship working at the Weisz Harvard Lab for Youth Mental Health, I am able to learn how these issues influence families and children and will start to develop a foundation on which I can hopefully become a contributor to change and awareness within this field.
Many of the classes I have taken at Boston College focus on issues incredibly relevant to this internship. With a background in child development, abnormal psychology and the familial/environmental influences that contribute to children’s mental health, I have a strong base on which to begin acting against the development of mental health issues in children. Having learned about the development of mental illness in youth, I feel much more prepared to interact with participants in the studies at my lab.
My volunteer experiences through 4Boston, at a K-8 school in a local community, have also had an important impact on my formation of a foundation working with youth. This particular school has a high density of lower income children who tend to have a vast amount of stressors in their daily lives. As I learned in my classes at Boston College, the likelihood for a child to develop issues with mental health increases as their number of risk factors increases. Many of the children who are participating in the studies through my lab face similar stressors and traumas. My exposure to the lives of these children already has been incredibly humbling in my own life.
The knowledge I obtained through my classwork as well as my firsthand experiences with kids, undergoing similar circumstances to the children in my study, has helped to prepare me for the work at my internship. I think that learning through classes as well as personal interaction is a strong combination for me to start developing the skills necessary to succeed in this field, and I believe that this internship will continue to help me develop these skills.
Written by Abigail Weber, BC Class of 2017