Age: 17 (March 1, 2003)
School: École McTavish Public High School Graduate for Class of 2021
Future Goal: To be a kind and supportive mental health role model
Written by Tanisha Kadia, MACOY
Naomi Solbak is a photographer, advocate, and survivor. The 17-year-old has inspired many by telling her story and advocating for reducing the stigma surrounding mental health.
“I am most passionate about helping others find their way out of darkness, even if it’s a glimpse of hope in a moment of desperation. When a stranger over social media tells me that I saved their life, my heart drops in gratitude that I helped them see light in a dark tunnel. It’s those comments that give me instant validation that I’m doing the right thing with my advocacy,” said Naomi.
With almost 3,000 followers on Instagram, Naomi frequently posts about her mental health journey and how she continues to practice self-care.
“I am most passionate about helping others find their way out of darkness, even if it’s a glimpse of hope in a moment of desperation.” — Naomi Solbak
The influencer’s followers can look forward to regular live sessions with her where she explores different methods of self-care and answers questions. She utilizes her platform to spread positivity and gratitude.
“I am most grateful for life! Breathing and feeling my heartbeat is a gift after surviving a resuscitation. I’m thankful for living the life I’ve always longed for, even though I didn’t know my future would hold me becoming a mental health activist, I know now that this is my purpose on the planet,” she said.
The activist also found joy in spreading her light throughout the community. During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, Naomi launched the Fort Mac Porch Project.
As a photography entrepreneur, she captured families on their porches during quarantine to picture the realism of life in a pandemic.
Naomi has also found hope and positivity during the pandemic at her school École McTavish.
“I truly enjoyed seeing my school staff or my ‘family’ at school this year after nearly losing my battle. Seeing their faces instantly brightened my day and helped me push through my final full year of high school,” she said.
“Graduation was bittersweet that my ‘family’ saw me in my gown.”
Naomi is currently writing a book about her journey and passion for mental health. As an aspiring author, she explained how she was motivated and encouraged by her idol.
“My dream is to meet the woman who helped me break from my shell of secrets about my story.
Jazz Thornton, a famous author and mental health activist, quite literally changed the direction of my life, and I will forever be grateful for her and the things she has told me over social media.”