ImMentallyIllAndIDontKill Was Started By 3 Psychosis Advocates in New York City
Michelle Hammer is an NYC native with Schizophrenia. She was featured in the WebMD documentary Voices, which was nominated for a Tribeca X Award at the Tribeca Film Festival 2018. Michelle has also been featured in Mashable, The Daily Mail, Stylist, and Buzzfeed to name a few. Michelle was diagnosed with Schizophrenia at 22, after a misdiagnosis of Bipolar at age 18. At 27, Michelle decided to use her artistic talents, and fearless personality to do something that could benefit the mental health community. In May 2015, she founded the company Schizophrenic.NYC, which is a clothing line with the mission of reducing stigma by starting conversations about mental health. Learn more about Michelle at Schizophrenic.NYC.
Cecilia McGough is a mental health activist, writer, media consultant, and radio astronomer. Cecilia also happens to have schizophrenia but does not let it define her. Cecilia is the founder and executive director of the nonprofit Students With Schizophrenia and 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. 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 making sure people with psychosis are represented. Cecilia has been selected as the keynote speaker for the Schizophrenia International Research Society 2020 Conference to take place in Florence, Italy. 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.
Allilsa Fernandez is an activist who has worked on disability and mental health policies. She recently completed a fellowship in the Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy & Innovation in Loyola Law School, and a Lawbound Program by Latino Justice. Allilsa’s personal experience with disabilities informs and inspires her activism for disability rights. Allilsa graduated magna cum laude from Stony Brook University in December 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, despite being told she would never be able to attend school because of her struggles with psychosis. She founded Peer Mental Health Alliance, an organization on campus that provides resources for mental health through literature, peer-to-peer support, and creative arts programming, which aims to end the stigma associated with mental illness. Allilsa was also an undergraduate representative for the President’s ADA Committee and a mentor for the Accelerated College Education (ACE) program to provide guidance and resources to incoming students with disabilities. She also participated in the Participatory Action Research (PAR), a university research program that enlists students with disabilities to provide the administration with feedback on accessibility issues. During her time at Stony Brook University, Allilsa received numerous awards from the Student Affairs and the LGBTQ Center for her distinguished service and leadership on campus. She also served on the boards of various mental health, disability, and LGBTQ+ organizations. Currently she is the co-chair for Disability Rights, Education, Activism and Mentoring (DREAM), where she works on accessibility and inclusion issues in higher education nationwide. She is also a part of the student advocacy board for Students with Schizophrenia and serves as a member at-large for NCIL (National Council on Independent Living). Through her activism, Allilsa made landmark changes at the university: requiring captions for videos produced by the undergraduate student government; providing information about accommodations on all material for university events; and ensuring that the ADA automated buttons on campus are operational, and if not, where to report them to be fixed in a timely matter. Allilsa’s activism has been featured in local and national media, including Forbes, Latina Rising, Newsday, the Statesman, Stony Brook University News, News 12, SbPress, TBR, Ignite National, NW ADA center, and Stony Brook Independent. In her leisure time, she enjoys writing poetry, performing spoken word, and playing the piano by ear.