This summer, I completed a ten-week unpaid internship working with Sam Hearne and Jake Fishman of Men’s Health Archive. Not only was it my first time working with a non-profit, but it was my first time working with the subject of mental health. Even with the obstacles that COVID created, we were still able to get a lot done and I am proud of our work. Working with the executive directors of the organization, I learned the basics of non-profits, in particular one dedicated to mental health. I am very proud I worked on an initiative that could give access to mental health professionals for men. It was exciting to work within the field of mental health for the first time, but it was also exciting that I was able to work with a family friend. The company of others was much appreciated during the tough times of COVID.
The daily tasks changed by the day, but at first a lot of the tasks were just brainstorming how we can get back on track during the pandemic. Much of the work the non-profit does is talking to mental health professionals, having in person interviews with those professionals and people who were willing to share their stories regarding mental health. Obviously, this was not possible to do, so we focused on tasks that could be done remotely. The main initiative we were focused on was subsidizing the cost of therapy for men in Massachusetts. There were many nights of discussing the legality of the initiative in terms of having medical information on patients, how to reach out to mental health professionals in Massachusetts who would be on board, how insurance would play a part, etc. As anticipated, I was able to use my background in neuroscience from my academic coursework to create information pages of diagnosed mental illnesses for the website, another task that I worked on. I created individual webpages for anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and ADHD, giving an overview, highlighting the symptoms and explicating the brains biological and chemical processes that occur with the particular illness. Creating these educational materials gives the visitors of our website a better understanding on mental health disorders they could possibly be experiencing. Other daily tasks included posting articles that were relevant to men’s mental health. I focused a lot on the mental health of black men because of the racial injustices that came to light during the summer, including the death of George Floyd. The image below is a screen shot of one of the posts I did for the archive.
I was pleasantly surprised with the experience because I although it was not my first choice for a summer internship, I enjoyed my time during the experience. The experience opened my eyes to the possibility of other career paths I did not consider. There are many options to take with a neuroscience major, and I feel more comfortable now keeping my options open and weighing out different career paths. I am fortunate for the experience I had this summer with Men’s Health Archive, and I believe we made the most out of the time even with the limitations of the pandemic.