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Interview

Aria Sline.

Hi there! My name is Aria Sline and I am an intersectional feminist, activist, and senior at Homewood-Flossmoor High School. I am the creator, editor, producer, website manager, and co-host of the (f)embolden Podcast as well as the co-founder & mentor of the (f)embolden Mentorship Program. I can also be seen on the T.S.O. Teens Speak Out Live Talk Show as the teen host and more recently, I became a featured writer for GenZHER. At school, I am the President of my school’s top choral ensemble, the Viking Choir and the Cultural Advocate Officer for the National Honor Society.

Do you believe that you have a good support system?

I definitely believe that I have a strong support system. My family and friends are ceaselessly by my side no matter the circumstance.

How do you deal with your own mental health?

 I maintain mental health by practicing compassion and revolutionary love with those that I encounter. I find it extremely important to continually recognize your privileges and to then act in a way that is not only beneficial for you, but for others.

Are there any specific psychological conditions that mean a lot to you?

 Depression and anxiety have been prevalent in my family for years, so I tend to be most interesting in understanding these mental illnesses.

Do you believe that the stigma has decreased a significant amount in your community?

I do believe that mental health stigmas have decreased substantially in my generation, but not particularly in the Black community. As a biracial young woman, I have seen firsthand the dichotomy of how mental illness is treated both in the Black and white community.

Do you have any favorite mental health advocates? If so, who are they?

The work and activism of Shalmali Jadhav from India is not only necessary but captivating. Shalmali is kind, intelligent, and effervescent and her involvements are nothing short of inspiring. She will undoubtedly change the world.

How do you think school affects mental health?

I think that traditional school- that is pre-COVID- tended to be very draining for one’s mental health due to the constant need to wake up and work. Conversely, school now is draining because of the lack of human interaction coupled with the stress and trauma of living through a pandemic.

What do you think schools should do to combat mental illness within students?

 I think schools should create clear and defined safe spaces, virtual or in-person, for students to vent about their mental health in a de-stigmatized environment. Additionally, mental health stigmas should be completely erased not only in school, but across the world.

What self-care practices do you recommend?

 I would recommend people to allow themselves to feel their emotions fully, but to understand that their emotions are temporary and are the result of some trigger- good or bad. It is important for youth to understand that self-care is not limited to face masks and proper sleep. Self-care is exercise, self-care is reading, self-care is crying.

I hear that you are the founder, producer and co-host of the (F)emolden Podcast which focuses on empowering women and non-binary individuals. How do you believe mental health plays in with female rights?

Mental health is particularly important in female and non-binary communities because it is often neglected. Women are traditionally cast off as being “overly emotional” so our feelings and mental illnesses are not taken seriously. Furthermore, non-binary people not only deal with gender and body dysphoria, but their existence is invalidated at a systemic level which ultimately leads to declining mental health.

Females show higher rates of diagnosed anxiety and depression. Why do you believe that is?

As stated previously, I believe that women’s mental health is trivialized societally which leads to further anxiety and depression. Furthermore, in developing countries, many women are not given access to proper sanitary items for menstruation which leads to depression.

What does mental health mean to you?

Mental health is the foundation of our body and spirit. It is paramount to obtain mental health and to advocate for proper mental health education because all people should have access to tools that allow them to be mentally healthy.


Check out Aria, the (F)emolden Podcast, & TS Olive Talk Show!

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