MTV and Active Minds have teamed up and brought together ten young mental health advocates and activists from diverse backgrounds to provide input from the youth this campaign aims to serve.
Anushka (she/her) is a student at New York University studying Psychology and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies (CAMS) on the pre-med track. As a former Active Mind's Student Advisory Council (SAC) member and a current student ambassador, Anushka is passionate about normalizing conversations about mental health in her community through storytelling. Other than her work as a mental health advocate, she also volunteers as a research assistant for the Social Cognitive Affective Neurodevelopment (SCAN) lab at NYU Langone which aims to study the impact of the pandemic on child development.
Meera Varma (she/her) is a mental health activist from Los Angeles, California. Her struggles with mental health cast a dark shadow over many of her experiences as a teenager and were compounded by the cultural shame she faced when seeking treatment as an Asian-Indian woman. The cultural stigma she endured is what fueled her passion for activism at the age of 14. Her work has been recognized at a national level when she was invited by President Biden and his administration to discuss the disparities in our nation’s mental healthcare system. On a grassroots level, Meera has spoken at mental health panels, conferences, seminars, and to members of government to propose new initiatives in mental health policy. Currently, Meera’s mission is to change the narrative surrounding mental health and encourage people of all communities to get the help they need and deserve.
Jaiden (he/him) is a student ambassador and chapter leader with Active Minds, and has been involved in the organization for the last four years since helping found a chapter at his high school. Now a student at the University of Arizona, Jaiden is working towards a Bachelor of Science in Public Health Systems and a Bachelor of Arts in Law, with a special focus on public health policy and law. His personal and professional experiences have inspired his dedication to improving the state of mental health for young people. He enjoys cooking, running and biking in the beautiful Tucson outdoors, and listening to live music.
Trace (he/him) is a peer educator and mental health advocate with a background in adolescent crisis intervention, peer-to-peer support models, and youth-centered policy initiatives. A freshman at The Johns Hopkins University, Trace studies public health and writing seminars, with a focus on how the narrative and poetic voice can be used to contextualize public health issues in the research and policy-making process. Outside of his work, Trace loves ceramics, spending time with family and friends, longboarding, and hiking. During the school year, Trace lives in Baltimore, Maryland and spends the summer home in Oregon.
Tre (he/him) strategizes on empowering others to accomplish their goals. Through years of personal and professional experience, I have learned that helping people achieve their dreams is one of the most fulfilling things I can do. Tre has dedicated his life to therapeutic, mentoring, and inspiring individuals from all walks of life to unlock their full potential. Tre is currently a part-time student at St. Ambrose University receiving his Master's in the School of Social Work with dreams of going into Private Practice as a Mental Health Therapist.
Kaitlin (she/her) empowers and supports the mental health of youth as a high school counselor. She earned her Master’s in School Counseling at Boston College, and her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at San Diego State University. As a former President of the SDSU Active Minds chapter, and a former Student Advisory Committee member, Kaitlin immensely enjoys advocating for youth mental health alongside the Active Minds community. She finds joy in exploring new places through their coffee shops, and loves to read and spend time outdoors with friends and family.
Alyssa Garza (she/her) operates at the forefront of her community, coordinating with multiple groups in an effort to strengthen the Shreveport, Louisiana area. Alyssa received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Louisiana State University in Shreveport, where she founded an Active Minds Chapter and also worked as a Peer Educator at the campus counseling office for 2 years. She is passionate about mental health advocacy and suicide prevention in marginalized communities. Currently, Alyssa is working towards her Master of Science in Counseling with a concentration in Rehabilitation Counseling at LSU Shreveport. When Alyssa is not hitting the books, she can be found working in one of the city’s community gardens, practicing yoga, doing arts and crafts, or playing with her two elderly Yorkies.
Jorge Alvarez is a Social Impact Strategist, Mental Health Advocate, & Creator who uses his love for storytelling to combat stigma by cultivating space for collective reflection, unlearning limiting beliefs, and breaking cycles both on and offline. He’s grown a community of +130,000 across his social platforms and was recognized by MTV as 1 of 30 participants to be part of the inaugural Mental Health Youth Action Forum at The White House where he spoke alongside Selena Gomez, the U.S. First Lady, and the U.S. Surgeon General. Jorge’s work has also been recognized by TikTok as he was awarded the $50,000 TikTok Latinx Creatives Grant to fund a mental health video production. Jorge now speaks at venues, universities, and institutions across the U.S. to empower and educate young people about mental health. Jorge’s lived experiences and advocacy has enabled him to work with companies and nonprofits on strategy that drives impact and inspires action through partnerships, building intentional campaigns, and developing digitally accessible tools.
Morgann (she/her) is a model, mental health advocate, motivational speaker, and consultant. She is currently a student at Howard University majoring in Marketing. Morgann is the founder and CEO of Morgann Unlimited, LLC., a business she started after her work on a Dove commercial. This business focuses on consulting, motivational speaking, and tool kit creation to teach young girls and femmes of color about using your unique qualities as a superpower and making your voice heard in environments you wish to be a part of. Morgann has been involved in the mental health space since the 2nd grade, most recently interning for The AAKOMA Project during her gap year. She enjoys, reading, traveling, learning about real estate development, and working out.
Brandon Bond (he/him) is responsible for assessing the needs of students, advocating for systemic-level changes, and implementing solutions that produce health-promoting environments in his role as a Mental Health & Well-Being Student Advocate Consultant at the University of Michigan (U-M). He received a Master of Public Health in Health Behavior & Health Education with an Injury Science focus and had a double concentration in Global Social Work Practice and Management & Leadership with a Trauma-Informed Practice focus for his Master of Social Work. He also did his undergraduate degree at U-M, where he double majored in Biopsychology, Cognition, Neuroscience and International Studies: Global Environment and Health. His research foci include the impact that cultural conceptions of mental health have on one’s health-seeking behavior; DEI/culturally tailored integrative health interventions, and 2SQTPOC+ mental health. Outside of the university setting, Brandon is a Human Rights Commissioner for the City of Ann Arbor and serves on the Board of Directors for Garrett's Space, a suicide prevention non-profit.