Be Nice To One Another, And Other Things She Has Learned From Kids
Gab Bonesso, Comedian, Motivational Speaker, Writer, and Producer
Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023, from Noon to 1:30 p.m.
We are very excited to have Gab Bonesso return as a speaker for us during the 2023 Speaker Series. Gab spends a lot of time with kids as a school visitor and performer and will bring us her unique perspective on youth and young adults with mental health diagnoses.
Gab will share her observations about kids, how the pandemic has changed them, teachers and their burdens, and the kindness that lives in the middle of it all. We will learn about being nice to others, identifying a trusted adult, caring for yourself and one another, fear of vulnerability, and the beauty of grace.
Gab will provide videos of kids she has interviewed, and we will hear their take on what is happening in their world.
And we will all leave filled with hope.
About Gab: Comedian, Motivational Speaker, Writer, and Producer
Gab is an award-winning comedian, children's performer, and producer working on stage, radio, and in print. Gab is the co-creator/lead performer of The Josh and Gab Show, a pro-kindness show they perform in grade schools. In addition, she has done corporate comedy and videos for American Eagle Outfitters, has been an On-Air Producer for CBS Radio, and has written columns for AOL, The Pittsburgh City Paper, and the Pittsburgh Current.
As a comedian/mental health motivational speaker Gab Bonesso personally understands childhood trauma. She has also spent the last decade visiting schools with her per kindness assembly program (the Josh & Gab show). These experiences have given Gab a unique perspective on our current mental health crisis in kids.
- Named a Top 100 speaker on mental Resilience by the EZCare Clinic in San Francisco, 2020
- Voted Best Comedian by the Pittsburgh City Paper, 2017
- Received an Experimental Artist Residency at Carnegie Mellon University awarded by the Pittsburgh Foundation, 2012
- Voted Best Comedian by Pittsburgh Magazine 2010
- Voted Best Comedian by the Pittsburgh City Paper, 2009
As part of the PA Care Partnership Grant, we serve the needs of youth and young adults with mental health diagnoses. In order to provide for our youth and young adults, we include their voices as advisors and participants. We are pleased to include three teen advisors in this webinar. Our teen advisors are members of the PA Youth Advocacy Network.
As a child of immigrants from Egypt, mental health has always been taboo for me. Men are expected to put on a brave face, and if they admit to mental health struggles, they are seen as weak. I conformed to this mindset until I had the opportunity to take a class called Applied Positive Psychology in my sophomore year of high school. This class opened up my mind to the importance of mental health and how your physical health, behavior, thoughts, actions, and mood all revolve around your mental health.
With this newfound knowledge, I began working with the PA Youth Advocacy Network as a teen facilitator and champion and gave several presentations about topics related to mental health, such as Emotional CPR and how peers can help a friend. I also helped pass a proclamation recognizing Teen Mental Health Day across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and had the opportunity to speak at the Allegheny County Courthouse about the importance of mental health education reform and support for minorities and those with disabilities. I am speaking as part of this webinar to again help other people who may struggle with what their culture and parents stigmatize about mental health and provide some basic knowledge. I am currently working with the PA Youth Advocacy Network and a national organization called Work2BeWell on creating a classroom content curriculum around sensitivities when talking about mental health for certain cultures to increase overall cultural understanding.
As a young student, I never understood what mental health problems were and why they were important. I wrongly assumed that mental health problems were nothing more than a cause
of "long-term blues" and that the world had "bigger, more important problems to deal with."
I grew up in an environment where teen mental health issues weren't considered real problems. However, my perspective changed as I became more aware of my surroundings. As I entered high school, after finishing my eighth-grade year virtually, I began to see firsthand the problems and stress that many teenagers go through. From pressures in social life to stress from parents and teachers about academics, students were burdened with many responsibilities to "do it all" in many different ways. On top of that, the stigma behind teen mental health is causing many teenagers to keep their true feelings to themselves; they're afraid that people won't take them seriously and will judge them for being weak.
However, many people don't realize that the pressure on teens from school, family, and others can lead to dangerous mental health problems, which can have disastrous effects if not treated. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among teens, and that's because many people still don't view mental health as a relevant issue. I joined the PA Youth Advocacy Network to help erase the stigma behind teen mental health and bring awareness to help people suffering in silence. As we work together to help each other, people are more willing to ask for help and receive treatment. I believe the only way to find a solution is to start by getting people to understand that a problem exists in the first place.
Our third teen advisor is Ja’Nya Coleman.