Destrehan native Dr. Christie Cognevich, a 2022 Destrehan High School graduate, will have her second book published this summer.
Cognevich’s second young adult nonfiction book titled – Dealing with Stress: Insights and Tips for Teenagers – will be published in July 2022 by Rowman & Littlefield. Her debut Depression: Insights and Tips for Teenagers was published in the same “Empowering You” mental health series in 2020.
“Honestly, I sat down to write this book because the timing felt urgent,” Cognevich, an educator, said. “History-making events are all colliding right now, and this book addresses coping mechanisms for the huge stress that comes along with our times. During the COVID pandemic, I watched my students trying so hard to connect in a completely unprecedented world where everything turned upside down in the blink of an eye. In just a couple of years, children and adolescents have lived with incredible uncertainty. They’ve lost loved ones, experienced academic upheaval, and witnessed family upheaval with working from home and lost jobs. Local kids just endured Hurricane Ida. That has added even more layers of traumatic stress to their lives—school disruption, evacuation, home damage.”
She added that every day in the news there are more reports about economic crises, war, and school shootings.
“It’s a lot for adults to process, much less young people, so these anecdotes and strategies are hopefully helpful and coming at the right time,” Cognevich said. “The first thing I hope they get is some peace knowing that there are explanations for the stress responses they’re experiencing. They aren’t just overreacting or being too sensitive. Our psychological and physiological states are linked; sometimes understanding how stress impacts our physical and mental states can be the key to letting go of some of our shame about how we’re feeling. We can’t cope with our stress if we can’t acknowledge it as valid to begin with. Secondly, I hope they walk away with some strategies for how to cope with the very real stressors they’re experiencing.”
Cognevich said that stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“It is essential for our survival, but learning how to work with it instead of against it is part of our journey,” she said. “Learning those skills early in life can have very long-term benefits.”
Cognevich 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. She said she is now working on her third book.
“It is very, very different from what I’ve been publishing,” she said. “My first two books are non-fiction, but I’m currently working on a young adult novel. It’s a big shift from the research and interviews of non-fiction to plotting out character development in fiction, but I love writing both. The current project is a mystery with a little bit of magic, and it’s set in New Orleans. I’m about one-third of the way done with it, but the goal is to finish writing it this year.”
Dealing with Stress can be preordered from the publisher’s website 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.