Shoilee Banerjee, the teen prodigy who wrote her way to mental health advocacy
Whenever a young talent arises, we are proud to share their achievements. That is the case for Shoilee Banerjee, an author and activist who decided to use the power of her words to generate awareness about mental health.
According to the Massachusetts General Hospital, “Many children and adolescents have mental health problems that interfere with their normal development and daily life activities. Some are mild, while others are more severe.”
Mental Health is not a topic that should be taken lightly, and for Banerjee, this topic has been close to her heart from a very young age. When she started high school at fourteen, she saw many of her friends fight with these struggles.
For some of her companions, their illnesses were mild, but for others, they were debilitating, and most, regardless of how severely they were affected, didn’t know how to cope with their illness and didn’t know what resources they had available. While Banerjeeknew she was not a doctor or a therapist yet, she decided she would bring more attention to the issue however she could: and she knew that writing was something she was good at from a very young age.
Later on, she realized that the power to help others was just one book away. At the age of nineteen, this incredible teen writer from Boston now has her first novel published by Leaf Publishing House, an independent press that puts its authors first.
Banerjee’s debut novel Something’s a “coming-of-age story that follows Aleeya Rai, an aspiring singer, through her high school experiences of happiness, sadness, and everything in-between.” Through the novel, Banerjee allows readers to empathize with what it’s like to be a teenager of color during the mental health crisis. For some, this might be easy to understand, but for others, it can be more difficult, and Banerjee’s writing encourages readers to understand that it is okay to find help if you need it. The novel is, at once, a listening ear and a relatable friend.
At the moment, Banerjee studies Public Health at college in Massachusetts and continues to advocate for those who have a hard time finding their own voices and for those who have already found theirs. She is now an infectious disease researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital, a position she chose because of the hospital’s dedication to mental health research and advocacy. Mental Health is an issue that is not discussed as much as it should, and today we want to invite you to make your first appointment. According to Mass General for Children:
- For young children, a visit to the doctor usually means something painful will happen, like getting a vaccine or having blood drawn. Make it clear right away that this provider won’t be giving vaccines or drawing blood. Tell your child that this provider will help them with confused, angry, or sad feelings. It’s not the same doctor they would see for a sore throat or other medical problem.
- For teens, talk about why they should visit the provider. Teens think about what others think of them and they often ask questions about why they need to go to the appointment. Tell your teen that you’re worried and that you’d like them to visit the provider for you so you’ll feel less worried.
Take Shoilee Banerjee as an example, and don’t be afraid to discuss this topic. Creating awareness can prevent problems in the future.