CBS News features senior in ‘People Making a Difference’ segment

Sophie Haber

Reporting from Rugby Theater, a CBS News crew filmed senior class meeting April 28 for a segment focused on Sophia Van Iderstine’s ’17 effort to start a conversation about mental health among her peers.

According to the piece titled “People Making a Difference,” CBS reported on the “powerful lesson” from CEO of the Human Power Project Ross Szebo and Van Iderstine’s efforts to bring him and his lessons to campus.

“Being featured on the news was really cool because we could reach a much larger audience,” Van Iderstine said. “The more people that hear this message, the better.”

Szebo explained to students that there are many factors that are involved in mental health. According to Szebo, being stressed at school does not necessarily mean a student has anxiety. However, he did encourage students to look for signs of mental illness in friends and themselves.

“Opening up a dialogue about mental health is really the first step in normalizing the conversation, lessening the stigma and making the topic more approachable for everyone,” Van Iderstine said. “I think Ross’ presentation really achieved that. He helped us all to be more considerate with our own mental health but also to be more aware of others.”

Van Iderstine arranged to host the speaker through the Matthew Silverman Memorial Foundation, an organization committed to combating teen suicide by encouraging conversation about mental health. The organization was founded after Silverman, a senior at Brentwood School, committed suicide in 2006.

“I believe that addressing mental health is not just important, but necessary,” Van Iderstine said. “Changing the way that people perceive mental health is in our hands, and I hope that people feel motivated and inspired to be compassionate and equipped with the right tools.”