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Our class years range from 1988 to 2025, and we were brought together by this cause. Our homes are across the United States including South Dakota, New York, Massachusetts and California. We care deeply about the mental health of the current generation of students.

If you are a student who wants informal advice from alumni with shared experience, or just wants to be heard, we are here for you:

Willow Sylvester

Willow graduated from Yale as a first-generation college graduate with a major in Global Affairs and subsequently obtained a Master's in the field of human rights in Geneva. Her work with Elis for Rachael started when she co-founded Mental Health Justice at Yale and worked on collaborations between the two groups.  Willow met with Yale administration through the 2020-2021 school year to discuss MHJY's research and recommendations to little avail. She was also a first-year counselor in her residential college and advocated staunchly for better mental health culture on campus. Contact Willow at

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Lily Dorman Colby


Lily is a former foster youth and proud queer person who graduated from Yale with a degree in Economics. She attended UC Berkeley Law School and recently founded WithLivedExperience, aimed at helping those with marginalized lived experiences connect with each other and change the systems that impact them.

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Paul Mange Johansen


Paul is grateful his psychiatric issues surfaced before and after – but not during – his Yale years, as he heard the same dark whispers about poor mental health services at Yale that have echoed across generations of students. He is a suicide attempt survivor, but knows too many who aren’t. It has taken many years of experience and therapy, but he is now the right-sized fish in the right-sized pond, working as a biostatistician in Berkshire County (MA). Contact Paul at

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Zack Dugue


Zack is currently an undergraduate at Cal Tech with an interest in artificial intelligence. He and Rachael met in high school as fellow finalists for the McDermott Scholars Program at UT Dallas.

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April Smith


April Wilson Smith, MPH, is a Yale College 1996 graduate.  She went on to get a Masters in Public Health from Thomas Jefferson University with a focus on harm reduction for people who use substances.  She is the former Director of Organizational Development for HAMS (Harm Reduction, Abstinence and Moderation Support), a 10,000 member worldwide group of people who are trying to change their alcohol consumption through non-12 Step, harm reduction based means.  She is a prolific writer in the fields of substance use issues, mental health, trauma and psychopharmacology.  She is a survivor of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and has done extensive research in the trauma inflicted on substance using individuals when they interact with the healthcare system. 


Alicia Floyd

  YALE COLLEGE 2002+3  

Alicia is an internal medicine physician working on inpatient medical floors and ICUs in the midwest. She struggled with depression while in college and was hospitalized twice at Yale Psychiatric Hospital, withdrawing once.  She completed her pre-medical coursework at Columbia and graduated from Icahn Mount Sinai School of Medicine in 2011.  She is proud to be one of the co-founding members of Elis for Rachael and gratified to see progress to Yale’s mental health policies as a result of the September 2023 settlement, though much work remains. Hear some words of encouragement from Alicia to current students. 


Rishi Mirchandani


Rishi is a member of Yale College's Class of 2019. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in college, and he felt that the university’s policies and personnel significantly exacerbated his struggles. He earnestly envisions a world where every Yalie with a psychiatric disability feels welcome and supported on campus. Rishi graduated from Yale summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in mathematics. He is now based in New York, working as a classical pianist. To learn more, visit See his November 2022 appearance on CNN discussing mental health disability rights. 

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Hanna Dugue


Hanna is a senior at USD in Health Science and is also an aspiring realtor. She loved Rachael and advocates for change in her honor.

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