MWC’s Sayeh Akhavan Shares Her Inspirational Story with the Independent

I was 14 years old when my sister had her first breakdown. As a young high schooler, I knew nothing about bi-polar disorder. My sister and I are only one year apart, and she is the greatest person and friend I have ever known.

Throughout high school, her struggle with mental illness persisted. I watched as her peers shunned her and formed the idea of who she was by their stigmatized view of her illness. And I grew disappointed by the lack of mental health education in our schools.

During her junior year, my sister’s condition worsened. Those were the most difficult days for my whole family. I watched as the debilitating effects of mental illness impacted all of us, and I took note of how mental illness is truly a community issue that affects us all.

One in five teens face some kind of mental health challenge at any given time.I came to UCSB with an interest in medicine, but the pursuit to find a subject I loved (and my growing interest in mental health education) led me to take my first psychology course: psychopathology. This class flipped a switch in me that was just waiting to be activated all these years. My experience with my sister’s mental illness sparked a hunger to learn more about this field that is so rarely talked about in our society. I also wanted to promote understanding to help ease the fear and judgment that I watched my sister experience.

On my new path, I was delighted to find the Mental Wellness Center in Santa Barbara and Active Minds at UCSB…

Click here to read Sayeh's full story featured by the Independent.