photo of Ivy Lee

Ivy Lee


Field of Work
Active Minds
Years of Experience
Why Mental Health?

Mental health is important to me because I have seen the affects that poor mental health and stigma can have both directly and indirectly. I have seen my dad struggle with grief and his own mental health and how our culture intersects with that ability to talk about emotions. I have also gone through and continue to go through my own mental health journey where I’ve experienced depression and anxiety.

Where I Started

I have always been interested in field experience and tried to grab that whenever I could. I realized I was interested in working in the mental health field when I was in high school, and the first chance I had in college I applied for an internship working in a residential program for individuals with personality disorders. Fortunately, my college also encouraged internships through a co-op program where we were required to intern for 6 month periods. These co-ops took me to teaching at residential program for children with behavioral and emotional disabilities, a photography studio in Dublin, and a private investigating firm. A lot of my experiences in college were about trying something really different from what I thought I wanted to see what was out there, and I ended up always wanting to go back to mental health. However, my “middler” (3rd) year at school I was sexually assaulted, and this experience led me and two of my friends to starting a non-profit that focused on passing legislation on gender-based violence on college and university campuses. This was a piece of my career that I never expected, but was really a catalyst for my love of non-profit work. This was something I continued to build and grow through my last two years of school, and beyond. After, I graduated I also got a job working at in psychiatric research, specially working with individuals with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. I was still interested in clinical mental health work at this time and wanted to get a PhD in clinical psychology. During my time at the lab, while simultaneously working at my non-profit, I realized that my favorite piece of the work I had been doing was talking to people and learning their stories. This made me pivot from a PhD to a masters program so I could start doing therapy with individuals sooner. I attended a masters in counseling and behavioral medicine program and started working at a private practice after graduating. I was still active with my non-profit as well, but more of a board member at this time. After a year of working in private practice, I started missing the day to day non-profit world, so I decided to make a pivot.

Where I Am Now

It was really hard to leave the clinical field to work full time at a non-profit, but even now I know it was the right call for me. I really enjoy building, strategy, programming, and policy work that I wasn’t able to experience in clinical work. Now, I work as a manager of chapter mobilization at Active Minds. I manage two student groups and do a lot of programming and strategy work. I will also be piloting a peer mentoring program which I am excited about! I feel much more settled where I am in my career. I think for a lot of my career years so far I’ve always been working towards the next big thing, but right now it feels like I’ve reached a good point where I can enjoy the work.

Where I'm Going

This is a great question because I think for the first time I’m not dreaming of the future. So much of my life I had been on a timeline like “okay I’m going to work here for 2 years then start applying then go to grad school for 2 years then” etc, but right now I’m just happy where I am. Eventually, I think about going to get a public policy or law degree, so I can be better set up for more policy based work, but that feels really distant.

Connect With Me