Mental Health Hero – Vooha Vellanki

Mental Health Hero – Vooha Vellanki
December 10, 2021

Mental Health America of Georgia is proud to introduce you to this week’s “Mental Health Hero” Vooha Vellanki. Vooha (Pronounced Oo-ha) is a 25-year old Georgia native who has not only struggled with mental health, but recently reignited her passion for being involved in the mental health space. She has spent the past few weeks fundraising for Mental Health America of Georgia, and I had the pleasure of sitting down with her and discussing why and how she has been doing so.

Vooha shared with me some of her struggles with depression, stigma, and the inability to recognize mental health struggles in herself as a young girl.

Growing up as an Indian-American, where mental health and mental illness was not acknowledged, putting words to her own experience was difficult. Mental illness can be very isolating, and Vooha’s experience was no exception. It was in college, where she was exposed to psychology, rise of social media mental health campaigns, and communities where others expressed their mental health stories. Here, Vooha found the courage to unlearn her own stigma and truly know that struggling with your mental health does not make you weak. Her experience has taught her how crucial it can be to create safe spaces to share your mental health struggles. It can help stop years of struggling alone.

Vooha’s interest in MHAG stemmed from seeing our TopGolf Suicide Prevention Fundraiser. Even though she was unable to attend, she was reminded that good work is being done in the state, and the mental health community is always in need of support. In her following research of our organization, she said that the LEAP Youth Program stuck out to her.

The Leadership, Empowerment and Access Program is a training program designed to improve skills in professional development, leadership and personal resiliency. The program is built specifically for youth and young adults aged 16-26 who are managing or at risk of developing behavioral health conditions. Some examples of Vooha’s favorite LEAP courses that MHAG provides are “Mental Health in the Workplace”, “Developing Independence” and “Building Resilience and Coping”.

Vooha has helped MHAG fundraise in many ways! She started a fundraising campaign on Facebook, raising hundreds for MHAG in just a short week for her birthday. She has also been making candles this holiday season, and selling them to help raise funds for the LEAP program.

“​​In our current traditional education system, there aren’t many opportunities to learn tangible life skills keeping in mind individuals struggling with mental illness and the unique challenges that brings. LEAP fills that gap. Through fundraising, I am happy to do my part in helping more young adults gain the confidence to be independent and thrive in their personal and professional lives.”

Vooha is dedicated to creating spaces to help discuss stigma and breaking norms around mental health both in her community, and in the state of Georgia. This may come in the form of book clubs, support circles, and future fundraising. We can’t wait to see what she does next.

Be sure to check out her candle fundraiser and message her on her instagram to buy a candle to support MHAG. If you want to share your story or your reasons for fundraising for MHAG, reach out to to speak with our Communications Manager.