10 Mental Health & Wellness Changemakers

Scrolling through TikTok nowadays, you’ll come across videos of people posting about how they’ve finally quit their jobs. The most common reason? Declining mental health.

There’s a lot of talk in the business world about how mental health is affecting the way employees work. They can’t properly perform their tasks due to burnout, anxiety, and stress. And that’s only to name a few root causes. According to the 2022 Deloitte Gen Z and Millennial Survey, 46% of Gen Zs and 38% of Millennials say that they’re stressed or anxious all or most of the time with workplace factors as one of the key drivers. These two generations have been very vocal about this “mental health crisis” following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which ushered in the remote work era.

We think the mounting mental health crisis is too important to ignore. So, what’s being done to end this crisis? We’ve compiled a list of mental health luminaries who are building awareness across communities and working to end the stigma surrounding conversations about mental health. We’re excited for you to meet them. Let’s go!

(Listed in alphabetical order.)

Allissa Torres, MSW

Allissa Torres is a social worker with a heart for equity and justice. She is the Director of Mental Health Equity at Mental Health America (MHA), ensuring that MHA centers equity in each part of its work. Torres has led several efforts such as the BIPOC Mental Health Month campaign in July to help promote positive mental health in communities of color. Sharing her own journey with mental health diagnoses has inspired others and shows us all that we can grow from our struggles. (LinkedIn)

Clifton Berwise

Clifton Berwise is an experienced Staff Psychologist, using his knowledge in Cognitive Behavioral and Interpersonal Interventions to support positive behavioral changes in the workforce. His expertise in mental health treatment has allowed him to help adults with psychological problems. He serves as the Clinical Content Lead at Modern Health where he covers various topics, like mental health care for women, employee burnout, and culturally-centered care. His role in providing solutions to drive workforce engagement and satisfaction has helped countless notable companies like Pixar and Lyft. (LinkedIn)

Erica Priscilla Sandoval

Erica Sandoval utilizes her knowledge as a clinical therapist to foster healthy work relationships and focus on creating positive change in the work environment. As the founder of Sandoval CoLab, her goal is to create a safe space for employees to grow as individuals and professionals while supporting their employer's growth as an organization. Sandoval published Volume 1 of Latinx in Social Work which shares the stories of Latinx social workers - with Volume 2 due out in October. She’s also the host of "The Latinx in Social Work", a podcast dedicated to the struggles Latinx social workers experience while dealing with racism, bias, and discrimination. (LinkedIn)

Harleny Vasquez

Harleny Vasquez is on a mission help people thrive within their professional development so they can reach their goals, get guidance through career roadblocks, and feel empowered to become the best version of themselves. She founded YourEvolvedMind to help social workers achieve career success. After battling with imposter syndrome herself, Vasquez is able to help her clients overcome limiting beliefs and increase their confidence in the workplace. She also serves as the Clinical Recruiter at Headspace Health, searching for talented clinicians who are passionate about improving the mental health of users on the popular mediation platform. (LinkedIn)

Jor-El Caraballo

Jor-El Caraballo uses his specializations in psychotherapy and mental health counseling to help adults combat depression, fear, and anxiety. He co-founded Viva, where he hosts presentations and workshops for schools and businesses to provide insights on various mental health topics. He also co-hosts the "Viva Podcast", sharing practical advice and busting mental health stigmas. Caraballo utilizes his knowledge to help clients working on racial and cultural issues, LGBTQIA+ concerns, and mindfulness. (LinkedIn)

Kevin Dedner

Named one of 75 Black Healthcare Leaders to Know by Becker’s Hospital Review, Kevin Dedner uses his work as an opportunity to break barriers in mental health care for People of Color. As CEO and founder of Hurdle, he provides culturally intentional teletherapy for POC so that they can have a safe space to feel understood. Along with building this platform, Dedner is an award-winning public speaker who has over 20 years of public health experience. His passion is to be able to serve the mental health community and give POC the resources they need to thrive and improve their well-being. (LinkedIn)

Matthew Montañez

Matthew Montañez, Co-founder & CTO of Akin Health, understands that mental illness is a serious issue affecting millions of families worldwide. Having a sibling with schizophrenia has shown him the ups and downs of dealing with mental illness and the strain that affected families feel when trying to find peace and stability. With over 15 years of experience in software development, he wants to use his technical skills to improve the lives of families, big and small, to navigate mental illness. He works to ensure that families get connected to the right resources and communities so that they can make informed decisions about recovery and treatment options. (LinkedIn)

Sharise Nance

She’s not called the Compassion Fatigue Lady for nothing. Sharise Nance dedicated her life to giving others the tools they need to overcome compassion fatigue and burnout in their relationships and careers. She’s the founder and Co-owner of HandinHand Counseling Services, where she uses her 20 years of experience to help others create a life of fulfillment and satisfaction. Nance has been recognized for the strides she’s made in the mental health field. She was the recipient of the 2018 Onyx Women in Leadership award and was highlighted by National Association for Mental Illness (NAMI) for Black history month. (LinkedIn)

Tiyanna Washington

Tiyanna Washington understands that mental health is something that everyone needs to take care of, and nobody should be afraid to speak up about their issues, no matter their age. Her mission is to make sure that young people have access to quality mental health care and education. She’s the Founder & CEO of Tspeaksnyc, where she empowers the lives of 11-19 year olds with a focus on the underserved and minority communities. Washington’s use of her platform to raise awareness about mental health issues in young people has landed her coverage in print and broadcast outlets within the Tristate area. (LinkedIn)

Will Cady

Will Cady is on a mission to change the way people think about mental health and help close the gap in mental health treatment. He’s part of the Advisory Council of Project Healthy Minds, a non-profit startup helping Millennials and Gen Zs navigate the mental health crisis they’re facing. Cady also serves as the Global Director of KarmaLab, Reddit’s in-house creative strategy agency, where he sets up brands like Samsung and Snickers for marketing success on Reddit, all while leading the company’s weekly meditations. (LinkedIn)

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