Family of Lee MacMillan Donates $30000 to Santa Barbara Mental Wellness Center – Santa Barbara Independent

Share Article

Donation Funds to Go Toward Youth Mental Illness Education and Advocacy Programs
The family of Lee MacMillan, a social media star who took her own life on March 26, 2021, donated $30,000 to the Mental Wellness Center of Santa Barbara, to be put toward mental-health programs aimed at advocating for young people. 
MacMillan died after being struck by a train on a section of the tracks near State and Hollister Road in Noleta. She had been open about her struggles with depression, speaking candidly on her social media accounts about seeking help and support. 
MacMillan was most well-known for her “van life” travel lifestyle, and many also knew her through the joint Instagram account she shared with her then-boyfriend, Max Bidstrup, dubbed @MaxandLee, which chronicled the couple’s adventures with their dog, Occy. Prior to her death, MacMillan had been on the receiving end of online harassment and cyberbullying. Much of the online harassment came after her relationship with Bidstrup ended. “Life is more complex than a single social media post,” read the statement announcing MacMillan’s death on the Instagram account @SpeakUpForLee. “Things are complicated. Don’t believe what you see online. Get out into the world and talk to your loved ones.”
Annmarie Cameron, CEO of the Mental Wellness Center of Santa Barbara, said many young people who participate in the youth advocacy programs were moved by MacMillan’s death and her struggles with being an online presence. “People are vulnerable online,” Cameron said. “Especially young women who try to portray positivity and perfection.”
Sign up for Indy Today to receive fresh news from, in your inbox, every morning.
The $30,000 donated by the MacMillan family will mostly go toward two youth programs run out of the center, Cameron said, including Mental Health Matters, a program that aims to introduce basic facts and vocabulary about mental health to students from 6th to 9th grade; and The Wellness Connections Council, a high school leadership program that engages students on the impacts of mental health and encourages students to reach out and connect with others. 
The center reached out to the family after MacMillan’s death, Cameron said, and the family expressed a desire to take the tragedy and turn it into something positive, including through donating to organizations that educate and support those suffering from mental illnesses. “Talking openly about these things gives people an opportunity to say, ‘That happens to me too,’” Cameron said. 
Dawson Kelly has participated in both Mental Health Matters and the Wellness Connection Council and also serves as the student representative on the Santa Barbara School Board. Kelly said participating in these groups has broadened his understanding of emotions and helped him gain more empathy for others. “Fear comes from me not understanding why people are the way they are,” Kelly said. “[The programs] have helped me reduce ‘unknown fear.’”
Kelly said since he began attending the Wellness Council in his freshman year, the council has averaged an attendance rate of about 20-30 students for each meeting. Now as a junior at San Marcos, he said he’s noticed a “shift in the conversation” surrounding mental health. “I saw how important it is to be educated on this,” Kelly said. “We need mandatory mental health education in schools.”
Support the Santa Barbara Independent through a long-term or a single contribution.
San Marcos Freshman Organizes Pet-Food Drive at Vieja Valley
Goleta’s Super 8 Motel to Become Permanent Housing
Samarkand Receives $1 Million Donation to Reduce Greenhouse Gases
YouTuber Trevor Jacob’s Pilot License Revoked Following Scathing FAA Report
UPDATE: Elder Abuse and Taser Assault Suspect Arrested
Taser-Wielding Woman Wanted for Questioning
Highway 101 Southbound to Merge into Northbound Lane
Family of Lee MacMillan Donates $30,000 to Santa Barbara Mental Wellness Center
Santa Barbara County to Hire Law Firm for Advice on Montecito Oil Spill
UPDATE: Elder Abuse and Taser Assault Suspect Arrested
Sat, Apr 23 12:00 AM
Santa Barbara and Sevilla, Spain
25th Annual Fish Derby, $5000 cash prizes and more
Sat, Apr 23 6:00 AM
Santa Barbara
CEC’s Santa Barbara Earth Day Celebration
Sat, Apr 23 10:00 AM
Santa Barbara
International Ecological Resilience: Permaculture
Sat, Apr 23 2:00 PM
Santa Barbara
Vintage Vibrations Pop Up Market at SOhO!
Sat, Apr 23 2:00 PM
Santa Barbara
1950 Census Party at the SB Genealogical Society
Sun, Apr 24 11:00 AM
Santa Barbara
Up Close at The Dance Hub
Sun, Apr 24 2:00 PM
Santa Barbara
VIP Video Speed Dating by Amador Matchmaking
Thu, Apr 28 7:00 PM
Santa Barbara
Jonathan Larson’s Tick, Tick… BOOM!
Fri, Apr 29 8:00 PM
Santa Barbara
Mujeres Makers Market
Sun, May 01 10:00 AM

Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.
Copyright ©2022 Santa Barbara Independent, Inc. Reproduction of material from any pages without written permission is strictly prohibited. If you believe an user or any material appearing on is copyrighted material used without proper permission, please click here. Site by Trew Knowledge. Powered by WordPress VIP.


You might also like

Surviving 2nd wave of corona

Surviving The 2nd Wave of Corona

‘This too shall pass away’ this famous Persian adage seems to be defeating us again and again in the case of COVID-19. Despite every effort