Pablo is a second year undergraduate working towards a degree in social work at Pensacola State College. Pablo's work includes providing mental health advocacy as the president of the Active Minds chapter at PSC and also works for the Crisis Action Referral Effort for Students or CARES office at the college. For the past two years Pablo has been instrumental in creating a culture of mental health awareness and the reduction of the stigma around mental health on campus and in the community. Despite the amount of resources that college campuses have or can refer students to, there is an overwhelming stigma that the words "mental health" and "depression" have. He has been the leader bringing the campus and community together through his personal story. Pablo has not only worked at the local level but has advocated at Florida state legislative session. Based on his work at the college and with Active Minds National Pablo became a National Speaker for the organization in 2015 and was the keynote speaker at their 12th Annual National Mental Health on Campus Conference at UC Irvine. His speaking engagements have taken him from coast to coast to various colleges and universities working to change the culture associated with mental health.
My passion stems from my own personal struggle which involves battling mental health issues including depression, anxiety, ADHD and addiction that lead to a suicide attempt in my senior year of high school. After reaching stability and almost 8 years of sobriety, the need for a significant change in the culture around mental health in all levels of society has become clear to me. I have used my hope and enthusiasm in recovery to inspire others on my campus, in my community and various campuses nationwide. I have shared my personal story, lead peer advocacy efforts on campus, advocated in the community and on the state legislative level. I have helped train over 300 faculty and students in suicide prevention training on campus. Through our Active Minds chapter, I have helped organize events that deeply impacted our students and community. I believe mental health is the next public health issue of my generation. Through sharing stories of resilience like my own we can take action on a topic that people are initially resistant to due to its personal nature and stigma. I hope to make significant changes at the local, state and national levels now and in the future.