In a society where stigma has been cultivated around suicide and mental illness, Luke Maxwell has dedicated his life to bringing awareness to these topics. Through his project, “U Can’t B Erased,” and podcast, “Psyc 101,” Luke has inspired a culture of awareness, informing others that although a mental illness is a medical disease that may be challenging to deal with, it can be overcome.
When Luke was 16 years old, he struggled with depression and suicide. At the time, he was unaware that 1 in 4 teens deal with these same issues. As he explained, it was difficult for him to make sense of what he was going through. Eventually, he used his story to inspire others, in hope that he could change the perspective society has on mental illness. A major goal of his movement is to get each person, whether they have a mental illness or not, to recognize that mental illness is not a flaw.
We asked Luke, as an Architect of Change, how he “Imagines What Can Be” for his movement and community. He emphasized how he wants to bring a general awareness to the public that mental illnesses can be overcome. Luke wants to empower teens to recognize, overcome and be unashamed if they are in the midst of struggle. Part of his message is one of support: he wants his audiences to understand their value as human beings, even if it they do not see it themselves. Luke also targets people not dealing with mental illness so they know there are so many ways to help others handle their tough situations.
Luke hopes that he can have an impact on individual lives while also shifting society’s viewpoints. When asked how he wants to “Move Humanity Forward,” Luke responded that he wants to create “a ripple effect.” Luke strives to have one-on-one connections with his audience through live conversations or social media. With “U Can’t B Erased,” Luke strives to be the voice for those who feel like they do not have one. While uses social media as a positive influence, he finds that social media can be a “double-edged sword,” in which it can lift up some while tearing down others. Although we love to post about the fun times in our lives, we only depict a small portion of our story through a filter. Luke’s social media stands as a positive voice in his community, provoking hope in each posting.
Luke understands that not every moment in one’s life is perfect. He is not aiming to erase these moments, but rather to help people realize that in their imperfect moment, they can still be thankful for the incredible life they are living.