Zach Schleien & David Markovich

As someone who has lost close friends to mental illness, Zach and David have dedicated their lives to provide support to people who have mental health challenges. The journey for them began when Zach’s close family friend Louis passed away after struggling for 3 years with schizoaffective disorder / bipolar type 1. 

In his honor Zach raised $40,000 through crowdfunding for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). The proceeds were used to fund the NAMI Basics Program, which supported 360 parents of children with mental illness as well as the Family to Family program which supported 600 family members with a loved one with mental illness.

Following the campaign, Zach teamed up with one of his closest friends, David Markovich who has an expertise in online community building. The two created 18percent.org, a free mental health online community based off Slack, where one can receive peer-to-peer support while staying anonymous. The community offers free 24/7 support in a moderated environment with many channels that cover various mental health issues. The name stems from the statistic that at any given moment 18% of the United States population, suffers from some mental illness. The community has garnered respect from The Washington Post and is an official partner of the Crisis Text Line and National Eating Disorders Association. 

You can follow and learn more about 18percent below:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/18percentCommunity/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/18percentcommunity/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/18percent_

18percent: https://18percent.org/ 




Advocate of the month is updated on the 10th day of each month. If you’d like to nominate someone, please send an email to office@makechesterproud.com or fill out form in the “contact us” section.