Bake it Till You Make It: Lessons to Learn From Dayna Altman


Dayna Altman Delivers a Speech

On January 18, during Wellness Week, the Upper School was fortunate to have Active Minds speaker Dayna Altman visit. Dayna is a nationally recognized mental health leader by the Biden-Harris administration and a dual graduate of Northeastern University with experience in both the mental health field and with youth-based non-profits. She is the owner and operator of Bake it Till You Make it LLC, as well as the author of four cookbooks. These aren’t just any cookbooks, though. Recipes are accompanied by curated tales of peoples’- both Dayna’s and others’- mental health journeys.

During the presentation, Dayna used a focus on to baking as a way to share her story, talking about her life in tandem to the simple bread recipe she was putting together on stage. While unfortunately she was not able to actually put the dough in an oven, what we gained from the presentation was so much more than that.

Dayna spoke about depression, trauma, eating disorders, and OCD, exploring both her experiences with them and different ways to cope and recover. Dayna highlighted how recovery is not a one way street- there will always be highs and lows, but it is important to keep going.

Students enjoyed Dayna’s presentation for many reasons: for example, she talked about subjects that weren’t usually discussed, such as eating disorders, and most importantly, she was relatable and open. One thing that makes dealing with mental health issues difficult is the stigma surrounding it, which is why Active Minds’ logo is “Changing the conversation about mental health”. Dayna is helping do this by being vulnerable and sharing her story, which is greatly appreciated.

While we may not have as big of an audience, there are still things we can do to help. First and foremost, take care of your own mental health! Don’t be afraid to reach out to Dr. Estrada, Ms. Donahoo, or anyone you trust. Remember, it takes a lot of courage and strength to be vulnerable and ask for help, but it’s something we’re all capable of. Secondly, if you see someone you know that is struggling, reach out and ask how they are doing. Sometimes, having someone show you that they care enough to listen to your problems is the first step in getting help.