Discuss mental health |  UDaily

Discuss mental health | UDaily

The mission of the Biden Institute at the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Delaware is to bring together scholars, policymakers, journalists, business leaders, and organizations to nonprofit, government officials and activists to address the most pressing domestic policy. problems facing America today. But before policies can be addressed, the problems must first be identified.

One of the biggest issues facing students today is mental health, and on Thursday, September 15, the Biden Institute hosted Christopher and Erik Ewers, co-directors of the documentary film Ken Burns presents Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illnessfor a discussion at the Trabant University Center.

“We need to think about policies that can make this world a better place,” said Cathy McLaughlin, executive director of the Biden Institute. “We need to identify the challenges before we can change the policy. That is why we are here today. We are here to have these conversations and to talk about the political issues that concern our students. If you don’t talk about it, you can’t fix it.

Each semester, Biden Institute programming focuses on diverse policy areas, aiming to engage and inspire the next generation of leaders to shape the public conversation and affect policy at the local, state, and federal levels.

After a 15-minute clip from the film, Helen Ann Lawless, Director of Strategic Wellness and Training at UD, moderated the discussion.

“We know that at this point in the academic year, incoming students in particular might start to feel lonely or stressed,” she said. “It definitely gives them the opportunity to feel seen and also to connect and learn more about our commitments as a community to support this work.”

Hiding in plain sight features first-person accounts from more than 20 young people, ages 11 to 27, living with mental health issues, as well as parents, teachers, friends, health care providers and experts in Mental Health. The film presents a window into everyday life with mental health issues and confronts issues of stigma, discrimination and awareness.

“The idea of ​​this film is to give young people a voice when they haven’t had one in this conversation, but they are the ones most likely to show symptoms early in life,” said Erik Ewers.

Christopher Ewers said he thinks mental illness is much more common than many people realize.

“Statistics show that one in four Americans suffers from a mental illness, and that’s just outrageous – it’s misleading,” said Christopher Ewers. “It’s four out of four, in the same way that none of us have ever experienced physical illness. And until we have that fairness of thought – and of course fairness of policy and treatment – ​​we’re going to keep repeating the same process.

Erik Ewers said one of the main goals of the film is to raise awareness of mental health issues that young people face, as well as reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.

“We tend to cross the street if we see someone babbling incoherently, unlike someone who has broken their leg, you rush to help,” he said. “And why is that? We’re uneducated. We have people in the movie who have hallucinations and delusions, and you see they’re a real human being too.

Ellie Lichty, a first-year political science student, attended the event because she said she has mental health issues and hopes to raise awareness about the issue.

“I think talking about youth mental health is really, really important. I struggle with it and I have a lot of people around me who struggle with it,” she said. “I thought the questions were very relevant to today’s society. I also liked how [Erik and Chris] put the movie together with relevance to the moment instead of what sanity was like 50 years ago. And of course, it doesn’t hurt to remember ways to help others.

The need for mental health care is greater than ever, Lawless said, and UD has made great strides in helping students and staff put mental health first. She reminded students of the mental health services offered at the Warner Hall Wellness Center and that most services are available in person and virtually. Students can also contact 24-hour mental health support on the UD Helpline or Crisis Text Line.

While mental health services are essential, Christopher Ewers said it’s important not to overlook the impact empathy can have.

“The more we can relate to one-on-one with empathy and respect, that will affect everything, certainly, but in terms of mental health, absolutely,” he said.


For any student in need of support or assistance, the Student Life Division offers a variety of resources.

Students can contact the Student Counseling and Development Center at 302-831-2141. The UD Helpline is available at 302-831-1001 anytime, night or day, for students feeling anxious, overwhelmed, depressed, or in need of counseling.

Additionally, staff members from the Office of the Dean of Students are available to assist any student who wishes to speak. Call 302-831-8939 to schedule an appointment.

Mental health support for employees receiving UD is provided by ComPsych® GuidanceResources®. The link explains how to access services or call 1-877-527-4742 for assistance.

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