Cecilia McGough is a New York City-based mental health activist, writer, media consultant, and radio astronomer. Cecilia also happens to have schizophrenia but does not let her diagnosis define her. Cecilia is the founder and executive director of the nonprofit Students With Schizophrenia and content creator for the I Am Not A Monster: Schizophrenia project. As a TEDx speaker and Special Books By Special Kids interviewee, Cecilia’s videos have been viewed over 20 million times over multiple platforms across the globe and featured in Forbes, Glamour UK, Barcroft TV, and CBS This Morning national news. Cecilia is an UNLEASH talent who traveled to Denmark in August of 2017 to be an active voice towards attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to make sure people with psychosis are represented. Cecilia continues to advocate for diversity in the workplace through The Valuable 500 and Lyfebulb. Also, Cecilia has been selected as the keynote speaker for the Schizophrenia International Research Society 2020 Congress. At the age of 17, Cecilia co-discovered PSR J1930-1852 leading to opportunities such as helping represent the United States in the International Space Olympics in Russia and also being a Virginia Aerospace Science And Technology Scholar through the NASA Langley Research Center. Cecilia’s story as a radio astronomer through the Pulsar Search Collaboratory can be seen in the documentary Little Green Men. In addition, Cecilia has been protesting and giving a voice for the psychosis community in the gun violence debate since 2018 by marching alongside 200,000 people in Washington D.C. for the March For Our Lives movement. In 2019, she co-organized the I’m Mentally Ill, And I Don’t Kill protest at Union Square, New York City. Together, we can change the face of schizophrenia.
Nathan Shuherk graduated from Taylor University in 2015. During college, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia which led him to start a Student’s with Disabilities club. He studied history and philosophy and was part of a national championship ethics bowl team. After college, he moved to Indianapolis to take a job in adult education at the Indianapolis Public Library system. Nathan has been connected with several NAMI groups during his moves, and he has been given a chance to be a guest speaker for NAMI events in three cities in Indiana.
Jason Jepson grew up in Virginia. He was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder while he was enlisted in the United States Army. Jason lives in Richmond, Virginia where he is active on the Veterans Council at the McGuire Veterans Hospital. Jason began his mental health advocacy with NAMI and has since gone on to volunteer with the Share Network. His story of recovery has been published in numerous online and print publications such as Yahoo News, The Mighty, and OC87 Recovery Diaries. Having obtained an Associate Degree from Sergeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond, Jason’s true love is writing. He has written two books, When We Were Young, a fictionalized memoir of his late teens, and a book of poetry called Misfires of a Lyrical Mind. Jason is proudest, however, of his first-person accounts that are published several times a year in Schizophrenia Bulletin, an academic journal published by Oxford Press.
Lauren Kennedy lives with the diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. She is a social worker, and has just recently returned to school to work toward her Masters in Health Policy Research. She has been a mental health advocate since a young age, and offers the unique perspective of having experience as a mental health professional and mental health researcher, combined with her own lived experience of mental illness. She has delivered talks with the Schizophrenia Society of Alberta and the Mental Health Commission of Canada, and has her own YouTube channel, ‘Living Well with Schizophrenia’, devoted to increasing knowledge and compassion around schizophrenia and mental illness.
Rob’s partner Lauren Kennedy lives with schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. He handles the video production and editing as well as assists in content directing for their project called Living Well With Schizophrenia. They produce educational videos on what it’s like living with schizoaffective disorder. He has a lot of experience producing educational videos and has recently begun working on documentaries.