Speaker Panel: Diversity in Mental Health (2020)

On November 12, 2020, L2S hosted a virtual panel to discuss the intersection of diversity, identity, and mental health. We were honored to speak with five panelists: Dior Vargas, Emily Wu Truong, Phil Roundtree, Mariah Gladstone, and Pooja Mehta. Renowned in several different areas of mental health advocacy, each panelist offered their unique perspective about the impact of culture and community on how we view mental and emotional wellbeing. You can read their bios below:

Dior Vargas, MS, MPH

Dior is a mental health activist with over 10 years of experience in advocacy. Over the years, she has worked with many colleges, universities, organizations, and corporations to discuss self-care, wellness, and related topics. She uses her personal story to inspire others and is passionate about normalizing conversations around mental health. Dior tours the country delivering keynotes, hosting workshops, and speaking on panels. Her work and insight have been covered in media outlets such as The New York Times, Forbes, Newsweek, and NBC News Latino.

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

Emily Wu Truong

Emily Wu Truong is an award-winning mental health advocate who began her grassroots efforts to alleviate the stigma of mental illness in 2013. After being diagnosed with depression and anxiety, she began sharing her recovery journey of transforming her self-torture into self-love and how facing the stigma encouraged her to become a stronger advocate for herself and others. Her story has been featured by Each Mind Matters, ABC News’ Good Morning America, NBC Asian America, LA 18 and World Journal (世界日報). In recognition of Emily’s efforts, former Senator Ed Hernandez honored Emily with the 2015 Woman of Achievement Award, LA County Supervisors honored Emily’s request to establish May 10th as “Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day” in Los Angeles County in 2017, and Assemblyman Ed Chau honored Emily with the 2018 Make A Difference Award. As National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of San Gabriel Valley’s Peer Programs Coordinator, Emily facilitates weekly support groups to provide support and let her peers know that they are not alone in their struggles.

Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

Phil Roundtree, MSW, MS

Phillip J. Roundtree is a dynamic Speaker, Author, Activist, and Therapist. Recognizing society’s lack of emphasis on mental health, he’s evolved into a staunch mental health advocate for marginalized/underrepresented communities.  

He’s recognized as a 2018 “BE Modern Man” honoree, TedxTalk speaker, whose idea worth spreading “Black Mental Health Matters” garnered rave reviews. 

He’s the Host of Rhetorically Speaking, a live daily digital show on Youtube, and the weekly podcast, #YouGoodMan? A Men’s Wellness Podcast on all streaming platforms 

He is the Founder of Quadefy LLC, an organization dedicated to providing services to enhance the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual strength of an individual, team, and/or business.

Quadefy Website | Instagram | Twitter

Mariah Gladstone

Mariah Gladstone, Cherokee and Blackfeet, grew up in Northwest Montana on and near the Blackfeet Reservation. She graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Environmental Engineering and returned home where she began her work on food advocacy. She developed Indigikitchen, an online cooking platform, to revitalize and re-imagine Native foods. She was named a “Champion for Change” by the Center for Native American Youth in 2017. She is currently a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leader, a MIT Solve Indigenous Communities Fellow, and is pursuing her Master’s degree at the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment in the College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in Syracuse, NY.

Indigikitchen Website | Indigikitchen Instagram | Twitter

Pooja Mehta

Pooja Mehta is an outspoken South Asian Mental Health Advocate, and has been telling her story to audiences across the United States for the last 6 years. Originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, Pooja got her degree in biology from Duke University, and is currently getting her Masters in Public Health from Columbia University. Her advocacy work has been featured in a variety of podcasts and articles, including on NPR, ABC, and TEDx. In her spare time, Pooja enjoys cooking, watching documentaries, and playing with her cat, Pepper.

Instagram | Facebook