The Silicon Valley Voice

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Wilcox Junior Anagha Dogiparthi Recognized by Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Board

Mental health is a big issue facing Bay Area students today with local health agencies and school districts doing everything they can to help the local youth thrive. However, no matter how hard adults work, sometimes the best message for kids and adults comes from a teen.

Wilcox junior Anagha Dogiparthi was recognized at Santa Clara County’s 13th Annual Behavioral Health Community Heroes Awards on May 1 as a “Young Mover and Shaker.” She was singled out because of her work to help kids in the South Bay handle social media, specifically through talks at local elementary and middle schools.

“A lot of the reasons that I chose the particular age group that I did, late elementary or middle school, is because they aren’t necessarily completely hooked on social media yet. They’re not really using it for any particular reason other than to talk to their friends or scroll aimlessly,” said Dogiparthi. “I feel like the way that I was able to get the message across is that we did interactive activities and games and kind of personal anecdotes. A lot of them, they were very curious. They didn’t really know the effects of it; they were really casual about the fact that they use social media so often, and I really just think that just goes to show doing this kind of work and targeting the right age groups is so, so important.”

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Dogiparthi has spent more than two years as an intern at Stanford’s REACH Lab, a center dedicated to empowering and promoting adolescent and young adult health through research, education and policy. It’s through the program that she learned about the impact education can have on changing behavior, specifically on issues like social media use.

“A big thing that I was learning about at Stanford [REACH Lab] was trying to make sure that students understand why they shouldn’t, and the consequences that it can have, and just deeply understanding that they can make that decision for themselves,” said Dogiparthi, who tries to convey this message to parents as well.

“I think there should be more of an emphasis on telling your children maybe instead of just saying, ‘Don’t go on your phone, or don’t use social media at all,’ maybe telling them different alternatives that they can pursue,” said Dogiparthi. “Approaching it in less of a demanding and aggressive way, but more in a fashion that allows them to understand why they shouldn’t and also allow them to develop their own, hobbies and interests, that kind of fill in that gap.”

Dogiparthi is a commissioner on the Santa Clara County Youth Task Force and a peer advocate with TUPE, the Santa Clara County Office of Education’s Tobacco Use Prevention Education program. She hopes to continue her work in the future while shaping the messaging to better reach more of her peers.

“I would definitely like to continue the work that I’m doing right now. One thing that I would like to do in the coming years or so is put more of an emphasis on peer-to-peer education and making sure that students are hearing from people that aren’t that much older than them,” said Dogiparthi. “I feel like that gives them the reassurance that it’s coming from someone who’s grown up in the same environment as them.”

Other Wilcox High School Posts:
Wilcox’s Fashion Design Students Strut “Through The Decades”
Class Of 2024 Finishes Up Time At SCUSD
Notelove’s Student Instructors Offer Free Music Lessons
Wilcox Robopocalypse Team Kept Its Eyes On The Robotics Prize Despite Challenges

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