ALI 
At 16, Ali became a volunteer firefighter and experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault, and years of bullying at the hands of her fellow firefighters. She developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which kept her stuck in the past and prevented her from engaging in life. Through working with a wonderful therapist and surrounding herself with the love and support of family and friends, Ali learned how to take her life back and live it freely. Ali has re-identified herself as a victor instead of a victim.
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aliSpeakerPortraits

 

ANDREW
Andrew had it all entering his senior year at Muhlenberg College. He was a starting defensive back for the football team, named captain of the track and field team, and already had a full-time position upon graduation with a large accounting firm in Philadelphia. However, an injury in the first game of the season caused drastic changes for him. Andrew hid his struggles until he experienced suicidal ideations. With a strong support group behind him, Andrew began taking the needed steps toward recovery. The overwhelmingly positive feedback he received inspired him to continue talking about mental health.
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DEANNA
Deanna’s story begins in her junior year of high school, when she began struggling with her body image, depression, and overall feelings of inadequacy. She turned to food in an attempt to cope and eventually developed an eating disorder. In college, she reached a point where she couldn’t see past the darkness and attempted suicide. After returning to treatment, she learned to challenge her negative thoughts and find healthier ways to cope. Once she discovered that the thoughts and feelings that led her down that path were not as uncommon as she thought, she was inspired to speak out about her experiences in the hope of showing students they are not alone and that help is out there.
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Deanna-Munro

 

EMMA
Since she was nine years old, Emma has felt the weight of anxiety – even without having a name to call what she was feeling. She became a high-achiever in an attempt to fulfill the expectations of others, and to hide the growing symptoms of her anxiety. The recognition she received for her achievements made her a prime target for bullying, both in school and on her track team. In her quest to find answers to the questions she had about her feelings, she discovered the importance of self-advocacy and the value of trusting yourself. Today, she shares her story of recovery to inspire others to find their way to healing through self-advocacy and positive coping mechanisms. More >>

 

EVAN
As a child, Evan was an enthusiastic student who was excited about school. At the same time, he was experiencing panic attacks and generalized anxiety. Once Evan entered his final year of middle school, his anxiety was no longer random, but rather an everyday battle. The daily panic attacks and generalized anxiety would soon be followed by depression, and eventually problems with substance abuse. During his senior year of high school, Evan was arrested, kicked out of his high school, and spent his 18th birthday on house arrest. An “ah-hah” moment put him on a path of modifying his lifestyle and creating a positive mindset. By sharing his story, Evan hopes to spark the “ah-hah” moment for others who are suffering, inspiring them to speak up and ask for help. More >>

 

JENNA
When she was eight years old, Jenna’s father passed away. The effects of this trauma on her young life took a toll. She was diagnosed with anxiety, something she could not comprehend at the tender age of eight. Beginning in elementary school, and continuing through middle school and high school, she developed negative coping skills. Through her commitment to treatment and ongoing therapy, she not only survived but eventually thrived. She is now a mental health advocate, enlightening others and ending the stigma about mental health issues. More >>

 

JON
Jon grew up in a home of high-achievers. In middle school, Jon began to experience anxiety that prevented him from being able to achieve not only the goals set for him by his family, but his own. His attempts to avoid the stress brought on by his anxiety drove him to adopt negative coping skills. After turning to his family for help, and receiving their encouragement, Jon was able to find healthy coping skills that he still uses today to manage his anxiety.
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JORDAN
When Jordan was a high school student, he seemed to have it all. But the smiling happy face was a mask he wore to cover the anxiety and depression that lay beneath the surface. Soon he was drinking and his grades were falling, and he was finally diagnosed with depression. A year later, he found himself in a treatment center. Shortly after that, he attempted to end his life. Now, Jordan speaks out about his struggles, a messenger of hope for others that although we can’t choose the things that happen to us we CAN choose how we cope with them.
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Jordan

 

KATYA
From a young age Katya struggled with anxiety and depression, but couldn’t make sense of what she was experiencing. The daughter of parents who came from traditional ethnic cultures made her feel pressure to be the “all-American girl.” The challenges of growing up in her small, affluent town were exacerbated by a genetic predisposition to mental illness, lack of understanding, and traumatic events. Unable to process these experiences, Katya sank deeply into depression, anxiety, and negative coping mechanisms, all the while pushing herself to maintain the image of being a good student and pretending to have it all together. During a study abroad experience, Katya broke down, unable to function or continue her daily life. This pushed her to finally get the help she needed. Now healthy and accepting of herself, Katya empowers students to make healthy choices and build their own identity.
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KELLY
Kelly was raised in a wonderful and loving family, however, something never felt right. She didn’t feel a-part-of or good enough growing up. All this negative energy and self-talk eventually fueled Kelly’s attempt to achieve “the perfect body” and she found herself in the midst of an active eating disorder. In an attempt to escape her eating disorder, she began using drugs and alcohol while in middle school. After being arrested multiple times in high school and having her freedom at stake, she made the brave decision to seek help by attending a drug and alcohol treatment facility. Thanks to the dedication she shows to her active and ongoing recovery, she hopes to help other young people cope positively with their internal thoughts, making sure they reflect the unconditional love that is in the world.
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KRISTEN
As a child, Kristen experienced significant trauma. When she reached her preteen years, Kristen didn’t know how to manage what she was feeling and turned to alcohol, drugs, and self-harm to mask the pain that she so desperately wanted to keep locked away. As a result of this she suffered with debilitating depression and anxiety that affected her in her everyday life. After going to treatment, where she learned how to replace her negative coping skills with positive ones, she worked hard to incorporate those habits into her life. Kristen, being a young person in recovery, proves it’s never too late or too early to get the help you need.
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Kristen-Harootunian

 

KRISTINA
Kristina has struggled with OCD and anxiety since a young age. Being bullied for many years by a “best friend,” led Kristina to suffer from depression. As a way of trying to take back control of herself and her life, she eventually developed an eating disorder. The ongoing bullying and feeling of lost control led her to attempt to take her life while in high school. Her inability to be fully honest with herself and in her recovery led her to a second attempt on her life while in college. At this moment, she made the brave decision to go to a residential center, which gave her the strength to fight back against her illnesses and take back her life.
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LUCAS
When Lucas was in high school, he’d tell you he had a perfect life. He was known for his no-stress, go-with-the-flow attitude, and an unshakeable confidence in his ability to achieve anything he put his mind to. No one would have ever thought he’d struggle with depression, including Lucas himself. Because he didn’t know depression was an illness that could affect anyone, Lucas hid his silent battle through high school and into college. Eventually, his depression became so severe he lost the ability to eat. He reached out to his family, and they helped him find a doctor to start the recovery process. Now, Lucas speaks out about his battle with depression to let others know there is always hope, and that there is a wonderful life on the other side of depression. More >>

 

SCOTT
As a teenager entering high school, Scott knew his life was going to change. What he did not expect was that the change would come in the form of depression. After being cut from his high school basketball team and developing severe acne, Scott began to feel worthless and spent his days mentally abusing himself. Throughout college, Scott’s issues only grew. He turned his world around by incorporating positivity into his life and learning how to achieve self-security regardless of what life threw his way. By harnessing the power of positive self-talk, Scott realized that thoughts are just as important as actions. He works to inspire others to climb out of the darkness and find the light in their lives. More >>