16 and Under

Tally Feingold: The advocate

Chloe Mutter, Staff Writer

If the youth is our future, we are in good hands at Lake Forest High School. The freshmen and sophomore classes are loaded with talented students, who are doing some amazing things despite the challenges of the pandemic.
You can check out each part of the series here: part 1part 2, part 3, and part 4.

Tally Feingold’s story starts when she was in seventh grade. She felt an urgent need to explain why she and so many of her peers were walking out of school in protest. 

While she was motivated by the school shooting in Parkland, she was most interested in making sure students had a right to share their voice. The walkout that day sparked a desire in her to carry on making a difference in the world.

Feingold is a co-founder and direct manager of the organization Five Tears,  an organization dedicated to educating people about mental health and breaking stigmas around the topic. Their goal is to get people talking about mental health.

“If a little kid says they have a stomach ache, someone is going to take them seriously. But if a high schooler who is fully aware of their emotions, feelings and can communicate them perfectly, says, ‘I’m too stressed to even think; I can’t go to school today,’ people will just think they’re just being too dramatic.” 

Feingold says the Five Tears program consists mainly of high school students. As she likes to put it, ”it’s better to talk about this when it’s coming from your friend or that girl in your math class with you, as opposed to like an adult. It just seems a lot more natural.” 

She reminds people that they don’t actually need a diagnosis to struggle with mental health. Like physical health, it’s an issue that affects everyone. 

Fiengold’s organization has had a massive impact on her and taught her not just about mental health, but how to deal with the challenge of being underestimated. Plenty of people she had talked to about her organization didn’t take her seriously.

However, she continues to keep her organization growing through social media and fundraisers in order to reach, educate and help as many people as possible. She is constantly reminding them to be there for one another. 

“Having compassion for yourself and others is much more important than people realize, because you truly never know what somebody else is going through,” she said. “Listening to other people when they try and open up to you, checking in on people and unloading kindness, because then, at least at that point, you know that you can’t make anything worse.”