Mental Health Movement x Picmonic Scholarship

Funded by
Mental Health Movement
Learn more about the Donor
4 winners, $1,000 each
Application Deadline
Sep 1, 2021
Winners Announced
Sep 15, 2021
Education Level

Dr. Jake Goodman and Zachery Dereniowski, two passionate mental health activists, started the Mental Health Movement (MHM) in October of 2020 in the hopes of de-stigmatizing conversations concerning mental health. Both co-founders are personally connected to the mission, “You Matter Most”, as they have seen friends lose their lives to mental illness.

Last year, with Covid forcing everyone to socially isolate, Jake and Zach took to social media to help people feel more connected and provide others with proof that they are not alone when it comes to their mental health. MHM is driven to give those battling with mental health a voice to be heard and know that whatever they are going through, they will persevere.

This summer, the duo connected with one of their favorite medical study companies, Picmonic, to create the MHM x Picmonic Scholarship. Picmonic knows your life is busy. They get it. That’s why they created a mnemonic learning system for medical students. It's built to save you time when studying, boost your test scores, and get your life back as a student. Picmonic has agreed to donate $2,000 to the scholarship in hopes of motivating those who have experienced a mental illness to keep fighting and pursue their educational dreams.

To apply, please share a 300-word essay describing your personal or loved one’s journey and how you want to use these experiences to positively impact the lives of others battling mental illness.

Mental Health
Selection Criteria:
Essay Topic

What was your personal or loved one’s experience with mental illness like and how do you want to use that experience to positively impact the lives of others battling mental illness?

250–350 words

Winning Applications

Katherine Collins
Atlanta's John Marshall Law SchoolStone Mountain, GA
Nora Kilburn
Jackson Sr. HighJackson, MO
I was born with OCD, it is biological. There was no cause, reason, or traumatic event, it is just there. I have always been a quiet, introverted person. I was given awards for "best Christian" or the "Citizenship award". I wish I could say that I won those because I was just a good kid, but the truth is I won them because I was terrified to mess up or upset anyone. I continued to excel in my studies. I was the picture-perfect child, but underneath lay a devious disorder that drove my every moment to be devoted to being "perfect". I had my first panic attack in 6th grade and struggled with suicidal thoughts since 5th. I was taken to a therapist and misdiagnosed with Depression and General Anxiety Disorder, which were only offshoots of the real problem. By 8th grade, I was having panic attacks that resembled severely aggressive seizures. They would have to sedate me and take me to the hospital to calm me down. It got to the point where I couldn't stay in class for more than 15 minutes at a time without an attack. I was finally diagnosed with severe chronic OCD. That summer I had my worst attack, and I survived, with a broken pelvis and a trip to a mental hospital. I was told that unless I learned to manage my OCD better I was not capable of high school, college, or holding a steady job. Through years of therapy and medicine, I am now planning to finish high school strong and pursue a degree in Musical Theatre, which is my passion. I want to spread the word about mental illness, especially the "mild" ones, such as OCD because it very nearly took my life. I want people to know that you don't have to have a reason to have a mental illness, sometimes it is just biological. Theatre has also been my therapy, and I think spreading theatre could help others who feel trapped in their lives. I want to just help others feel less alone and less misunderstood.
Natalia Ocampo
Barry UniversityMiami, FL
A challenging school year has come to an end. As an educator, I should be proud- after all the months of juggling difficult transitions from virtual to in-person learning. But the changes brought unexpected demands academically, socially and emotionally on my students. My students had an increased sense of uncertainty. These young teens were troubled by loss, financial instability, social isolation, coupled with world impacting election and social justice movements. This passed opened my eyes to the importance of mental health in learning. Seeing the growing need for mental health in children and how it has become such an important topic in schools, it encouraged me to get a Masters in Mental Health Counseling. My dream is to one day start an organization that focuses on incorporating research in psychology and child development into functional ways to nurture, protect, enrich, educate, and heal children in a school environment. There are three main components to this vision. First, is the whole child approach. I have seen first hand how the lack of social and emotional well-being impacts youth and their development and I understand the importance of including it in school curriculum to compliment academic growth. Second, I would like to include a component of my work that provides support to underprivileged children. Due to a lack of resources, it is difficult to bridge the developmental gap between middle and lower income and I am determined to include this in my work. Third, I would provide an emphasis on community. Sustainable change occurs when everyone involved in the child's life can properly support their mental health. Collaborating with families, coaches, teachers, and other members of a child’s community leads to the best outcome for them. For as long as I can remember, my goal has been to serve people to the best of my ability.
Emma Sherman
Musselman High SchoolInwood, WV
Since I was nine I've been diagnosed and medicated for anxiety. Since I was eleven I've been diagnosed and medicated for OCD. Since I was thirteen I've been diagnosed and medicated from depression. Throughout the years my mental illnesses have worsened. They have become more severe. My medications' dosages have been increased time and time again. I've been put on more medication than I can remember, most having extreme side effects. I was even once hospitalized for a bad reaction to one of my medications. Mental illnesses aren't like what those who aren't diagnosed treat it like. Just because you're nervous about a test, doesn't mean you have anxiety. Just because you organized your pens doesn't mean you have OCD. Just because your were upset one time doesn't mean you have depression. My anxiety causes me to rarely leave my house, to miss multiple days of school, it has costed me friends. My OCD has made it impossible to sleep, makes me do something three times or I fear something terrible will happen because i didn't. My depression made it hard to get out of bed, to do basic everyday tasks. It isn't what TV glamorizes it to be. It's hard, it's painful, and it not something that just lasts a day. I want to use this experience to let others know they are valid and they are heard. I want to let others know they aren't "crazy". I want to ensure them that what you see on TV isn't real, it's not an accurate representation. Sharing my experiences could let others know they aren't the only one with these struggles. To let them know they have so many people behind them, so many supporting them. I hope I can let others battling mental illnesses know what others say about mental illnesses does not matter. I wish to let them know they are some of the strongest people out there. If you can battle mental illness, you can take on the world. I desire to tell them the smallest step forward should be celebrated, how we are valid and resilient.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Sep 1, 2021. Winners will be announced on Sep 15, 2021.

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