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Actress Brittany Snow — known for her performances in "John Tucker Must Die" and "Hairspray" — is speaking at Penn about her Love is Louder campaign and discuss her past battles with an eating disorder and bullying. A little background on Love is Louder: "The goal of Love is Louder is to decrease the stigma of seeking mental health help, as well as increase the visibility of support for those who suffer any level of mental illness. It partners with organizations that combat bullying, suicide, rape, and peer pressure." Cogwell is Penn's student mental health awareness group. Credit: Christina Prudencio , Christina Prudencio

The words, “You are never alone,” resounded through Huntsman Hall last night when actress Brittany Snow stopped by to discuss her Love is Louder campaign.

The event was held by CogWell — one of Penn’s peer-to-peer mental health awareness groups — in conjunction with the Stephanie Becker Fund, which was created in memory of 2006 College graduate Stephanie Becker, who died from a fall this past October.

“Our goal is to decrease social stigma around mental health issues and facilitate open discussion about them,” College freshman and CogWell member David Lai, who helped organize the event, said.

Snow — best known for roles in “Hairspray,” “Pitch Perfect” and “John Tucker Must Die” — opened up to the audience about her own struggles.

Snow kept the event very conversational, discussing how she developed self-image issues at a very early age. “I was working on a soap opera and I had no friends,” she said. “At the same time, I was getting bullied at school.”

Throughout the discussion, Snow’s sincerity captured the audience’s attention, as she did not hesitate to expound on moments in her career when she felt lonely and hopeless. “I had an insane fear of being alone and of sounding crazy,” she said. “I didn’t talk to anyone about it. Everyone thought I was very happy and bubbly, but I was just good at playing this role.” Snow added that she battled with voices in her head telling her that she wasn’t good enough, even leading to a bout with anorexia.

When asked how she overcame her disorder, Snow cited her two-year break from acting as vital to combatting the voices in her head.

After learning to discuss her condition with others, Snow teamed up with long-time friend, Courtney Knowles, to start Love is Louder — an online campaign to erase the stigma against speaking out about mental illness.

Knowles joined Snow during her talk last night in order to explain the campaign. He stressed how it targets social media to connect and empower people to seek help and overcome personal challenges like depression and anxiety.

“Love is Louder proves that you’re not alone and you’re not crazy and there are other people going through the same thing,” Snow said.

Knowles added that the organization has given a positive outlook to the issue of mental illness. “We are a movement about the actions that we can take to all help each other,” he said. “Having something that you can participate in that’s about being honest and helping others is incredible.”

College sophomore Carla Hernandez found the discussion very relevant to Penn students. “I think that Brittany is relatable to a lot of us, being younger and her having experiences so recently,” she said. Snow’s message, she added, “puts into perspective current situations that we are all dealing with.”

Wharton sophomore Andres Martinez said that support groups — including Love is Louder and CogWell — should play more visible roles on college campuses. “These initiatives exist but they’re not heard of enough,” he said. “It is definitely important to have support groups, especially at a cut-throat environment like Penn.”

The night ended with an optimistic word from Michael Becker — Stephanie’s brother — who discussed the importance of seeking help.

“We all have a tendency to stumble at some points,” he said. “The important thing is to figure out how to get back up.”

This article has been revised in regard to the cause of 2006 College graduate Stephanie Becker’s death.

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