Destrehan native Dr. Christie Cognevich, who graduated as salutatorian of Destrehan High School in 2002, is living out her publishing dreams with the recent release of her debut title – Depression: Tips and Insights for Teens.
The book is published by Rowman & Littlefield.
“Ever since I was little, I wanted to be a writer,” Cognevich said. “I’m just really excited and proud I put this book out into the world. All throughout school I was always writing poetry, and I wrote my first novel – which was terrible – when I was 12, but I was very proud of it at the time.”
Cognevich, who teaches at Mount Carmel Academy, earned a BA and MA in English literature from the University of New Orleans and a PhD in English literature from Louisiana State University. She is currently earning an MFA specializing in creative writing for children and young adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
“It’s not the first book I thought I would publish,” she said of her debut title. “I always envisioned publishing a novel first, but I think it’s the most important thing I might ever publish.”
Cognevich said her book offers relatable situations and strategies to guide young adults struggling with mental health.
“This book also helps young adults who want to better understand their mental-emotional processes and grow their ability to cope with life’s many difficulties,” she said, adding the book is filled with real-life stories and illustrates a wide range of stressors and emotional difficulties faced by teenagers.
As an educator, Cognevich said the subject matter became personal as she saw teenagers struggle.
“One of the things I wanted to write about or write for was teenagers who were struggling with depression or stress or really anything that was holding them back,” she said. “Especially because, despite there being many resources in place for them, it can be extremely difficult for them to ask for help.”
The publisher Cognevich contacted was already working on revising a line of previously published books, and her proposal was a perfect fit for the series about adolescent empowerment.
“Apparently they liked it, because I just signed a contract about two weeks ago to write a second one on stress for adolescents,” she said. “So the process begins again.”
Cognevich said while her first book was finished pre-pandemic, her second book will definitely include relevant examples of how the pandemic suddenly changed so much, and how that may continue to factor into a teenager’s stress level. She said she’ll use the same strategy from her first book for her second book – interviewing numerous teenagers and mental health professionals so that as many diverse opinions and experiences as possible can be relayed to readers.
Depression: Tips and Insights for Teens can be purchased from the publisher at rowman.com, Amazon, Barnes & Noble or anywhere books are sold.
For more information about Cognevich, the book or to access free stress, mood and mindfulness resources, visit christiecognevich.com.