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Entrepreneurship grad with bipolar disorder breaks barriers with podcast

Many students live with anxiety, depression and other mental health problems, but that should not be a barrier to achievement, said Fresno State graduate Andrea Lee.

Despite being diagnosed with bipolar disorder as soon as she started college, Lee recently graduated with honors from Fresno State’s Craig School of Business at the age of 19, after just two years at the University. Now, Lee is highlighting mental health issues with her new podcast.The HiLow Podcast. »

“The HiLow Podcast is where I bring people with mental illness, interview them for their stories, and ask them to share how they live and what advice they have for other people,” said Lee, who started the podcast to create her own support. network.

“I create podcasts to help myself, but I also realized that I can help others by doing it. There are approximately 46 million people worldwide who have bipolar disorder. There are many people who need this resource. They have to navigate it every day, it’s a lifelong mental health condition. “

Lee’s podcast emphasizes that people with mental illness live the same normal life as everyone else. “I did an interview with a man who has two children and has Tourette Syndrome and bipolar disorder, so it was a very interesting discussion about family life,” Lee said.

A top business executive with a choice in entrepreneurship, Lee released her podcast on Student Incubator, part of the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Student Hatchery is a selective program that provides students with office space and business guidance to help them grow their business. To be considered for the program, students must meet the GPA requirements and present a business plan.

“The Student Incubator was definitely my dream program,” Lee said. “I looked at it 30 times, but I never had the confidence to apply because it seemed so prestigious to me. I really wanted to do it, but I just didn’t have the confidence. “But this past six months I decided to do it and wrote my business plan.”

Lee said the support network and guidance at Student Hatchery, entrepreneurship classes and her classmates helped her turn her business plan into real production.

“The struggle was with self-doubt and rogue syndrome, which I think is true for many students,” Lee said. “The Student Incubator is a very good community and when you have people around you who support you, you can go much further.”

Lee’s passion for entrepreneurship stems in part from the example of her immigrant grandfather, who first founded a successful rice company in Vietnam and then opened a successful Chinese restaurant in Hanford after coming to the United States.

“I’m really connected to my grandfather and his struggles. “His struggles were huge, coming from a country hit by war and reaching America, but he did more than survive, he built something,” Lee said.

Lee gives the impression that she is special and hardworking, but said that her experience with mental illness has taught her that she must put her well-being above achievements. “I am proud of my achievements at school and I am glad that my parents instilled in me a very focused, academic mentality, but they also advised me to take care of my mental health. “Mental health comes first and I think that is much more sustainable,” Lee said.

Many students have mental health problems. According to Healthy Minds Study, a national survey on student mental health, 41% of college students nationwide experience depression and 34% experience anxiety. Based on her own experience with bipolar disorder, Lee advises that students with mental health challenges need to accept the reality of their condition and seek help.

“I think a lot of people are ashamed of their mental health struggles, especially in college, where there is so much emphasis on developing, learning and achieving things,” Lee said. “I think the first thing you need to do is accept your mental health condition, because it’s nothing you are ashamed of, and once you accept it, you can get support, whether it is professional help, medication or support from your family and friends. “You will not be able to achieve your goals without giving priority to your mental health.”

Now that she has her degree, Lee plans to pursue a Master of Business Administration, pursue her podcast, and create a mental health website. Ultimately, it hopes to contribute to a better understanding of mental health and to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.

“It’s so important to have honest discussions about mental health, and that’s what I try to do with my podcast. Anyone with a mental illness is a human being. “If you care about people, you should care about mental health as a priority.”

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