A mental health superhero takes the White House

Photo of Carla Ibarra
Carla Ibarra, MPH candidate, at the White House. (Photo courtesy / Carla Ibarra)

For MPH student Carla Ibarra, influencing health policy in partnership with MTV – and delivering her message to Washington – is both a dream come true and a personal mission.

Carla Ibarra’s heart still skips a beat when she recalls her trip to Washington D.C. this past May. The MPH candidate visited the White House as part of MTV’s first Mental Health Youth Action Forum. There, she met with Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and Selena Gomez – and delivered her message one-on-one to the President of the United States.

Ibarra was part of a cohort of 30 young people selected by MTV to visit the White House and advocate for mental health action.

“The goal of the forum is actually to encourage and move society from mental health awareness – because we’ve been talking about it for years – into action through storytelling and media,” says Ibarra.

The cohort was divided into six teams, who then spent six weeks creating story-based mental health campaigns to present to officials during their visit. The effort was in connection with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and 18 other non-profits.

Read more about Carla’s story