UCLA Psychiatrist Tara Peris discusses anxiety with Mental Health Club


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A drawing of the human brain with words that encompass mental health. During her talk with the Mental Health Club, Tara Peris commented on anxiety specifically. Illustrated by Lucia Barker ’18.

A quarter of teens with struggle with anxiety during their lives. However, mental disorders can be difficult to see.

On Monday, Feb. 12, Tara Peris, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the UCLA Semel Institute and Program Director of the UCLA ABC Partial Hospitalization Program, visited to educate the Mental Health Club about anxiety disorders and misconceptions.

The Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior is focused on research and education. The Institute is rooted in understanding human behavior, including genetic, biological, behavioral and sociocultural aspects of normal behavior. Through their research they are discovering the causes and consequences of neuropsychiatric disorders, such as anxiety. 

Peris completed graduate school at the University of Virginia and has won numerous awards, including one from the TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behavior and from the International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation.

Photo by Allie Worchell
Tara Peris gives a presentation to the Mental Health Club at lunch on Feb. 12. She came to talk to Archer students about anxiety and mental health.

At Archer, Peris discussed how anxiety and panic affects people throughout their lives.

“Panic is the most extreme anxiety disorder. Thirty pecent of population have a panic attack in their lives,” Peris said. “It’s the experience of hanging out feeling totally fine and than you are blindsided.”

The Mental Health Club, which meets every Mondays, focuses on all aspects of mental health. They have discussed topics including the stigma surrounding mental health, the affect of social media and how to help a friend that is struggling with mental health. 

Co-president of the Mental Health Club Macoy Ohlbaum ’18 commented on the importance of Peris’ presentation.

“People at Archer and teenagers in general struggle with anxiety but are afraid to talk about it,” Ohlbaum said. “I think her coming allowed for people to be more comfortable and see how common it is throughout the teenage community.”