June 13, 2018
Public Health Sciences alumna Anim Aweh ‘11 is the author of a recently published children’s book about a child coping with mental illness. Titled Elijah Was Brave, the book aims to educate, normalize and empower families who may be noticing or do not know how to identify certain issues in their children.
Elijiah Was Brave takes readers on an adventure as the main character learns to accept his mental health issues with the loving support of his family and school. The book was inspired by Aweh’s work in the field of mental health, identifying barriers and limitations as well as improving personal empowerment.
“I realized the reluctance to accept or difficulty to understand how children’s mental health can present itself. My goal is to educate, normalize and provide tools for families who suspect that their young child might in fact be struggling,” Aweh explains.
Aweh seeks to change the conversation surrounding mental illness. “I think part of the stigma exists because there is so much most people don’t understand. This book normalizes what the process could look like for a young child, from discovery conversations all the way to the actual therapeutic process. It’s okay to not be okay, just get help along the way once you’ve acknowledged it.”
Aweh works as an associate clinical social worker specializing in black women’s health. She says her experience at UMass Amherst gave her the tools to become a leader in public health.
“UMass taught me to critique present data and use it to inform my own work in the field. I truly believe mental health is a public health concern, and focusing on prevention by providing resources and education is one of the fundamentals of my public health education.”