Photo courtesy of Stacey Lee Gobir
As a first generation Korean-American, Stacey Lee Gobir has devoted her life’s work to challenging negative stigmas associated with mental health services.
Lee Gobir, who earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and a master’s degree in Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine, is now a coordinator for the Health, Wellness and Resilience Education Program. Much of her work centers around student outreach and having conversations with students about mental health resources.
“So much of my life I [have felt] too Korean to be American but too American to be Korean,” Lee Gobir said. “I feel like a lot of that was manifested in the way I viewed mental health resources.”
For Lee Gobir, growing up in a family with a collectivist culture meant that having conversations around mental health or seeking help might be perceived as ungrateful or disrespectful to the family. This is because there was the potential for therapy to expose the family’s shortcomings.
Now Lee Gobir actively works to ensure students — particularly those in marginalized groups — don’t have this same experience.
“I never want anyone to feel alone or feel like there are no resources or no help for them,” Lee Gobir said. “There’s nothing wrong with going to counseling, there’s nothing wrong with holding space for yourself. If anything it allows you to be a better [human] — it allows you to show up in all the spaces in your life in the best way you can.”
In the future, Lee Gobir said she hopes to write children’s books that encourage them to talk about their feelings and ask questions about mental health, so no one is left feeling alone in their mental health struggles.
“I think that everything I do really centers around preserving and upholding the dignity of human life,” Lee Gobir said. “[I want people to know] that you’re worth it to live — past your mental health crises and past anything that you may be going through in your life.”
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