When Imogen Roche passed away suddenly at 15 years of age, hundreds of teenagers mourned her passing, not only because she was taken from us too soon, but because her presence in their lives was an essential one. She was the compassionate ear truly listening on the other end of the phone. She was the empathetic friend who reached out to peers in need. She put other people’s feelings in front of her own. And she would risk her life to protect the people she loved.
Although Imogen struggled in her lifetime with anxiety and depression, she hated the idea of traditional therapy. She used to say about going to a therapist, “I don’t want to take my emotional clothes off in front of someone who’s fully dressed.” Like most teenagers, she did not want to discuss her problems with adults; she wanted to look to her peers for support. And she led by example. She modeled the support for her peers that she wanted for herself. Being the one who listened made her essential to her friends. Being essential to her friends empowered her to overcome her own crises.