Justin Bieber donates $100K to Stockton student for her work with mental health awareness

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It was a life-changing moment for a Stockton University student when Justin Bieber recognized her work in raising awareness about mental health issues.

Julie Coker is part of the group Active Minds – a national organization that works to destigmatize mental health issues. Coker was invited to a taping of MTV’s “Fresh Out Live” this past Friday.

“They said that I needed to be in New York on Friday because it was going to change my life. That’s about it. That’s all they told me,” Coker says.

Coker was invited to talk about Active Minds on the show and then she was presented with a $100,000 check from Bieber.

“The video doesn’t look like I’m too excited, but I didn’t know what was going on. I was in shock,” Coker says.

RELATED: New Jersey unveils 2 new programs to address student mental health issues 

Bieber chose Coker as the recipient of the money to help her further her work in mental health awareness. And to say thank you for her actions.

“Mental health is so important to me because of my own mental health challenges,” Coker says. “I had very bad depression growing up and anxiety. And once I became recovered, I started working as a mental health advocate.”

Stockton University staff also lauded Coker for her work.

“She just has this relentless passion for human life and fighting stigma and shame and preventing suicide and eating disorders,” says Stockton assistant director of counseling services Nathan Morell.

Coker says that she is still in shock over the surprise and says that the money will give her a chance to pursue further education.

“I would like my master’s degree in clinical social work. I’m planning to go to Monmouth University and because of this award, I won’t have any school loans in my bachelor's or my master’s degrees. I could see myself going back for a doctorate, where, at first, I wasn’t sure if that was even going to be on my horizon because I didn’t want any more loans,” she says.

Coker is a Monmouth County native from Union Beach. She says that the first concert she ever went to was actually a Justin Bieber concert.

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