“I am here because exercise saved my life,” Maddux Eckerling told the crowd gathered outside of the State Capitol on May 1st to kick off California Moves for Physical and Mental Fitness Month.
Eckerling, who serves as the president of the Bring Change to Mind club at his high school in Western Nevada County, spent ten days in the hospital after attempting to end his own life in November of 2021.
Bring Change to Mind is an organization dedicated to reducing and ending the stigma around mental illness by spreading awareness, education, and giving a voice to those living with mental illnesses. One of the ways Eckerling credits exercise helping his mental health was by “going to the climbing gym every day before school… it taught me many lessons. Movement is the key to a happier day.”
As the nation struggles with rising mental health challenges among its youth, it’s important to highlight the efforts of young trailblazers like Eckerling, who aims to help his community by bringing awareness to the highest levels of government.
To put it succinctly in his words, “together we can move into a happy and healthier tomorrow.”
Watch Eckerling's full speech on YouTube.