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Mental Health Advocates

The Mental Health Advocates Program

Welcome to the Acacia community! Since 2014, Acacia has provided college students a safe, supportive space in which they receive quality and consistent mental health care that is highly accessible, affordable, specialized, and culturally sensitive.

The Mental Health Advocates internship program aims to provide growth opportunities in college communities by making mental health more accessible and less stigmatized through engagement, acts of service, and advocacy.

Program Overview

Wellness Work

Wellness and mental health are important pieces of our work and we want you to have the opportunity to work on your mental wellness as much as possible. MHA Leads and Provider Sponsors will be taking charge on initiating events, workshops, and activities for MHAs.

Passion Projects

MHAs will use Acacia and community resources to create a project/workshop/written piece/etc. involving a mental health topic of interest. This will act as a catalyst of change, education, advocacy, or growth opportunity.

Engagement Sessions

MHA teams will organize an engagement session as individuals or a group that centers around careers in the mental health field. Additionally, using previous events and new ideas, you will create, coordinate, and execute fundraising events on behalf of Acacia Roots.

Requirements

This program is currently a non-paid internship and has a weekly requirement of 3 hours/week.
  • An active higher education student
  • Sophomore – Senior college student status
  • Ability to work collaboratively in teams and independently
  • Passion for mental health
  • Exceptional time management skills
  • Solution-finder, delegator, and decision-maker
  • Interest in pursuing a career in the health fields preferred
  • Availability during program dates (October – June)

What You'll Gain

  • A community
  • Mental health system knowledge
  • Personal wellness awareness
  • A look into mental health careers

Our program runs for 9 months (October – June). Applications are closed and will reopen Summer 2021.

2020-21 Cohort

4

Jennifer Lopez Diaz

MHA Lead | Isla Vista
3

Molly Delzio

MHA Lead | Isla Vista
Untitled design (5)

Maggie Yao

MHA Lead | Isla Vista
Untitled design (23)

Sydney Kilgore

MHA | Isla Vista
Untitled design (25)

Linh Vo

MHA | Isla Vista
Untitled design (22)

Jamie Osuna

MHA | Isla Vista
Untitled design (24)

Michelle Salve

MHA | Isla Vista
Untitled design (29)

Arianna Stecca

MHA | Isla Vista
Untitled design (26)

Christina Crane

MHA | Isla Vista
Untitled design (28)

Jasmine Pao

MHA | Isla Vista
Untitled design (27)

Ani Ordubekyan

MHA | Isla Vista
6

Yashia Lo

MHA Lead | Minneapolis
Untitled design (11)

Mina Warsame

MHA | Minneapolis
Untitled design (12)

Ava Lam

MHA | Minneapolis
Untitled design (14)

Crystal Xayana

MHA | Minneapolis
Untitled design (3)

Alexis Stein

MHA Lead | Westwood
Untitled design (8)

Lauren Sugar

MHA | Westwood
Untitled design (9)

Sammi Owyang

MHA | Westwood
Untitled design (10)

Jenny Montes

MHA | Westwood
Untitled design (7)

Sam Seidel

MHA | Westwood
Untitled design (6)

Andrea Schwartz

MHA Lead | La Jolla
2

Max Gruber

MHA Lead | La Jolla
Untitled design (16)

Alicia Assang

MHA | La Jolla
Untitled design (15)

Amanda Lam

MHA | La Jolla
Untitled design (18)

Jian Isidro

MHA | La Jolla
Untitled design (17)

Noah Spence

MHA | La Jolla
Untitled design (4)

Maren Martinez

MHA Lead | Irvine
Untitled design (19)

Alyssa Agustin

MHA | Irvine
Untitled design (21)

Brinthy Moorthy

MHA | Irvine
Untitled design (20)

Kiarah Hernández

MHA | Irvine

Sydney Kilgore
she/her/ers
acacia isla vista

My name is Sydney Kilgore and I use she/her/hers pronouns. I am a 3rd-year college student from Fullerton California. I attend school at the University of California, Santa Barbara majoring in Psychological and Brain Sciences, with a minor in Applied Psychology.

I believe that mental health is one of the most important aspects of life because your mental health determines how you go about your daily life, relationships, hobbies, and more! To me having your mental health in check and getting help when necessary is one of the best things you can do for yourself!

Linh Vo
she/hers/hers
acacia isla vista

My name is Linh Vo (she/her/hers) and I am from South El Monte, CA. I attend the University of California, Santa Barbara, and am majoring in Psychological & Brain Sciences and minoring in Applied Psychology. I am currently a social media chair for the Society of Undergraduate Psychologists at UCSB, work in the UCSB Library, and work as a Direct Care Counselor at Alsana. I love listening to music, playing board games with friends, watching sunsets, playing volleyball, and hanging out with my cat.

Mental health is important to me because it is the lens through which we experience life, so I highly value the maintenance of mental health and want to promote learning adaptive coping skills for life’s stressors. I would also love to contribute to the destigmatization of mental health, especially in the Vietnamese community where it is very prevalent, and to also become a therapist in the future.

Jamie Osuna
she/her/hers
Acacia Isla Vista

Hello, my name is Jamie Natalia Osuna (she/her) and I’m currently a 3rd-year Psych and Brain Sciences major at UCSB from the LA area who loves music and helping people! The idea of mental health was only introduced to me a few years ago, but since then has broadened my perspective and understanding of others and myself.

My passion for mental health advocacy and putting an end to the stigma surrounding it has only continued to grow, and now I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the Acacia team where these ideas are put into action!

Michelle Salve
she/her/ers
Acacia isla Vista

My name is Michelle Salve (she/hers) and I am a first-generation Filipino from the east Bay Area (Antioch, CA). I am a third-year doubling in Psychological and Brain Sciences and Sociology, also minoring in Applied Psychology at UCSB.

For me, mental health has always been a major factor growing up and I’ve recognized how people, including myself, can be affected when we’re not mentally 100%. And while growing up, there was never affordable or accessible resources for underrepresented communities to receive proper counseling, medication, or overall guidance on how to understand what mental health is. I am looking forward to learning more from Acacia and seeing how this upcoming internship will help me towards my future career path as a therapist for the youth.

Arianna Stecca
she/her/hers
Acacia Isla Vista

Hi! My name is Arianna (she/her/hers)! I am from Sacramento, CA but am currently attending school as a junior at UCSB, with a major in Biopsychology and a minor in Applied psychology. I also work at the Food Bank on campus!

Mental Health is important to me because after seeing how it plays a role in all aspects of one's life, both personally and through friends and family, I wanted to play a role in helping, educating, and advocating for people in my community. I think it’s important to make a conscious effort to break down the stigma and support people in their mental health journey.

Christina Crane
she/her/hers
Acacia isla vista

Hi, my name is Christina (she/her/hers) and I am from Redondo Beach, California. I grew up in a small town in Michigan but moved to California 8 years ago and have loved it here ever since! I love film photography, movies, coffee, spending time at the beach with friends, and live music. Some of my favorite bands are Peach Pit, Surf Curse, The Marias, and Slow Hollows! You can catch me at music festivals like Tropicalia and Outside Lands. I am a 4th-year sociology major and applied psychology minor student at the University of California Santa Barbara and a transfer student from Santa Barbara City College.

Mental health is important to me because I believe that it is a driving force in our everyday lives. Taking care of ourselves and our mental well being is crucial when working towards our goals and growing as people.

Jasmine Pao
she/her/hers
Acacia Isla Vista

Hi! My name is Jasmine, she/her/hers, and I’m a third-year undergrad student from Palo Alto, California. I am currently pursuing a double major in psychological and brain sciences and Asian American Studies, with a minor in applied psychology at UC Santa Barbara.

Mental health is important to me because it’s a part of each and every one of us, whether we experience the impacts directly or witness the effects on people we love. My life has been shaped by my mental illness and it fuels my desire to help others who are struggling in the same position. We all deserve to live life to the fullest, so it’s incredibly necessary to reduce stigma and barriers so everyone can access mental health services and get the support they need.

Ani Ordubekyan
she/her/hers
Acacia Isla Vista

My name is Ani Ordubekyan (she/her/hers) and I am a proud Armenian-American from Glendale, California! I am a first generation student and the eldest daughter of an immigrant family. Currently, I am a third year undergraduate student here at UCSB majoring in Sociology and minoring in Applied Psychology! Mental health and its promotion is extremely important to me, as it is not always prioritized in the society we live in.

As someone who comes from a large immigrant community, I recognize, understand, and empathize with the stigmas many people have towards addressing their mental health. However, these obstacles only fuel my desire to advocate and promote mental health in the many communities I am a part of. I hope to make a significant impact on students in our very own community, but especially on those who don't come from communities that provide them with the footing to address their mental health concerns.

Mina Warsame
she/her/hers
Acacia Minneapolis

My Name is Mina Warsame, She/Her/Hers, I'm a senior studying Psychology at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. I'm a first-generation student/artist whose passionate about bridging the gap between mental health services/resources and communities of color.

Mental health is important because it is a vital component in our personal and collective wellbeing––it affects every facet of our lives and requires awareness, empathy, and immediate attention.

ava lam
she/her/hers
Acacia Minneapolis

Hello everyone! My name is Ava, and my pronouns are she/her/hers. I’m a third-year student at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities studying psychology and currently residing in the suburbs of Minneapolis. I take pride in my Asian-American identity, and I’m always looking for ways to challenge myself and explore new things. When I’m not studying, I enjoy traveling, watching movies, and listening to music.

Mental health is important to me because it’s a topic that deserves recognition. I strongly believe in accessible and culturally sensitive mental health care, and I’m a firm believer that everybody should be able to prioritize their own wellbeing despite the barriers or stigma. I’m thrilled to be working with Acacia to contribute to the community and develop my mental health advocacy.

Crystal Xayana
she/her/hers
Acacia Minneapolis

Hi, my name is Crystal Xayana and my pronouns are she/her/hers. I'm from Minnesota and currently attend the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities as a second-year Graphic Design major. I am the youngest child of four, born from immigrant parents, and I have a Lao-American background.

Mental health is important to me because I believe psychological and physical health go hand in hand together, meaning we cannot have one without the other. I am also driven to understand the world of mental health more as someone who grew up with a lack of community and with mental health as a taboo subject. I hope to be a part of a group that can bring awareness and normalizes taking steps to growth!

Lauren Sugar
she/her/hers
acacia westwood

My name is Lauren Sugar and my pronouns are she/her/hers. I am a junior transfer student from Monterey Peninsula College and I am still living in Monterey with my parents. After taking my first Psychology class senior year of high school, I knew that I was going to major in it. Furthermore, I am trying to get a minor in Neuroscience.

My passion for mental health has grown exponentially in my young adult life. After overcoming the stigma associated with getting help, I then realized the difficulty behind finding accessible and affordable counseling. My own journey towards becoming mentally healthy was a challenging yet rewarding experience. Having the ability to be confident within myself is something I cherish and want others to achieve as well. That is why I encourage others to be kind to themselves and seek help. When an individual’s mental health is stable, everything else in life seems to fall into place.

jenny montes
she/her/hers
acacia westwood

Hi! My name is Samantha Owyang (she/her/hers) and I am a 3rd-year Cognitive Science major studying at UCLA. I am originally from the Bay Area and am currently living in Los Angeles.

Mental health is important to me because our well-being is both emotional and physical. Everyone needs a little support sometimes, which is why I want to contribute to creating a community where we can ask for help, be there for one another, and talk about mental health.

Jenny Montes
she/her/ella
acacia westwood

Hi, my name is Jennifer and my pronouns are she/her/ella. I am a fourth-year Psychology major, minoring in Spanish and Education at UCLA. I was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley.

To me, mental health is important because I believe that no one should feel ashamed of asking for help, thus we should cultivate an environment that does not marginalize those with mental health issues. Many of these mental health issues also intersect with a variety of other social and cultural factors, which might lead to the inaccessibility of necessary resources. In the past few years, there has been an increase in mental health awareness; however, there are many other factors we must also work towards overcoming. Lastly, I believe that taking care of our mental health is just as important as maintaining your physical health and should be treated as such.

sam seidel
he/him/his
acacia westwood

Hi, my name is Sam, and I am a sophomore at UCLA studying political science and psychology. I am a member of the ZBT fraternity, where I serve as the Heritage chair and Philanthropy chair. Additionally, I am an executive board member of the Bruin Israeli Public Affairs and Committee and a member of the UCLA Men's Club Lacrosse team. Mental health is important to me because of how important it is in nearly every other facet of life.

Recently, great strides have been made toward destigmatizing mental health issues and services. However, I believe there is still a lot of work to be done in order for these things to be normalized. Mental health is something that impacts every individual human every day and improvements in mental health practices have the potential to improve our society at both individual and collective levels.

Alicia Assang
she/her/hers
Acacia La Jolla

My name is Alicia Assang and my pronouns are she/her/hers. I am from Hong Kong and am currently a second-year Clinical Psychology student at the University of California, San Diego. Growing up in a traditional Chinese household, mental health was not a topic my family spoke about. So, when I developed depression in high school, I had little support and struggled immensely with opening up about my experience; it took me a very long time to overcome the embarrassment and shame in order to seek help. Coming to America, I realize how far behind my community was in terms of mental health advocacy and awareness, which prompted me to pursue a career in Psychology.

Through being more involved in the mental health field, I want to help build a supportive and understanding environment for others who may experience the same struggle as I once did.

amanda lam
they/she
acacia la jolla

My name is Amanda Lam, and my pronouns are they/she. I’m originally from San Gabriel, California, and I'm currently in my last year as an International Business major and Psychology minor at UC San Diego.

For me, mental health is important because it truly affects every aspect of my day-to-day, from the way I think to how mental health manifests in our physical body. Thus, acknowledging my mental health, understanding what I need, and normalizing speaking about it all play an essential part in maintaining my wellbeing and living a fulfilling life.

Jian Isidro
she/her/hers
Acacia La Jolla

Hi! I am Jian Isidro and my pronouns are she/her/hers. I am from Temecula, California and I currently go to UCSD (yay tritons!!!). I am an avid concert-goer that loves all things Naruto, Studio Ghibli, and earth-toned.

I am really passionate about mental health and I aspire to make health insurance, especially mental health services, more accessible to low-income and underrepresented communities. I believe mental health is a critical aspect of everyone’s lives since it encompasses our thoughts, feelings, and actions as we navigate through life. Coming from a culture that does not acknowledge the existence of mental health, I would like to destigmatize the topic and create a safe space to catalyze personal growth.

Noah Spence
he/him/his
acacia la jolla

My name is Noah Spence, pronouns: he, him, his. I am an aspiring scientist-practitioner from Imperial, California, and I am a recent graduate of UC San Diego. I like spending my free time either in the gym or trying to advance my knowledge of martial arts.

Mental health is so important to me because it is so abstract. Mental health affects so much of our daily lives, but there is still so much stigma surrounding the idea. I want to help as many people as I can to increase their quality of life and to live as stress-free as possible.

alyssa agustin
she/her/hers
acacia irvine

My name is Alyssa, pronounced "Ah-Lie-Sah", and I identify myself using the pronouns she/hers. I am a 4th-year undergraduate student from Oakland, California, but moved to SoCal to study Political Science and Biological Science at the University of California, Irvine.

I am truly vocal about mental health because I believe that it is vital to one's success and often misconstrued by society. Because mental health plays a critical role in one's identity and overall quality of life, it is important to learn how to sustain it–similar to how one would with their physical health. My goal is to not only educate students about mental health but to completely revolutionize the stigma that surrounds it!

brinthy moorthy
she/her/hers
acacia irvine

My name is Brinthy Moorthy (she/her/hers) and I am a third-year Psychological Sciences Major and Biological Sciences Minor at UC Irvine! I was born and raised in Sacramento, California, and even though I've lived in Irvine for around 2 years, I still consider myself pretty new to SoCal in general.

I am so excited to be a part of the Acacia MHA Program this year! Mental health is important to me, because of how important of a role it plays in nearly every aspect of our life from how we feel to how we act. I believe that taking care of our mental health should be viewed as just as important as taking care of our physical health since they both play a large role in our overall wellbeing as people.

Kiarah Hernández
she/her/hers
acacia irvine

My name is Kiarah Hernández and my pronouns are she/her/hers. I take pride in being a first-generation Chicana college student from Elysian Valley, Los Angeles, CA. I am a third-year undergraduate student studying Psychology at the University of California, Irvine.

As an MHA Advocate, UCI PIRE fellow, First-Generation First Quarter Challenge mentor, and cultural chairwoman of Phi Lambda Rho Sorority, Inc., I am always eager to take risks and seek opportunities for growth. Mental health is important to me because although it is a constant challenge of wellness within mind, body, and soul, one can achieve continuous growth and success while cultivating a winner's mentality attitude at life.