Jordan is a public speaker who discusses the mental health issues and disorders that affect so many of us. He is a survivor of a suicide attempt during his senior year in high school and shares his powerful story of fighting depression and finding recovery.
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Melissa Ann Rice is a motivational speaker, mental health and anti-bullying advocate, and author of “The People You Meet in Real Life.” She is a 2009 honors graduate of Immaculata University and speaks with Minding Your Minds’ speaking program about mental health specifically Depression, Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, anti-bullying, positive coping and peer support and is on the board of the Philadelphia chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).
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At a young age, Carl began using alcohol as a way to mask the shame and pain he felt as a result of his ongoing battle with anxiety and depression. His use of addictive substances as a negative coping skill quickly progressed and eventually spun out of control. In his recovery process, he has learned healthy, effective ways to handle his emotions, as well as life’s ups and downs. Carl believes that the feelings he struggles with are faced by young people everywhere and that the lessons he continues to learn in recovery are valuable not only for those suffering from substance abuse, but to anyone facing life’s challenges.
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Sports and movement were how Ali coped with her chronic anxiety, negative body image issues, and self-loathing. When she was injured in college and unable to play any sports, Ali’s mental and physical health suffered as she engaged in restrictive eating and over-exercise in an effort to regain a sense of control. When this behavior led to an emotional crash after college, she committed to recovery, found the right support team, and dove into the practice and daily work of restoring her physical, mental, and emotional health.
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Ali is a national speaker who shares her experience with embracing the gift of challenge, overcoming adversity and learning true resilience. As a sixteen year old, Ali became a volunteer firefighter and experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault, and years of bullying at the hands of her fellow firefighters.
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When she was 15 years old, Katya was sexually assaulted, leading to a subsequent unhealthy relationship. Katya’s goal is to inform both males and females about the messages that they receive from society and the media regarding their physical and mental well-being, and educate them about consent, media literacy, and self-care.
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Beginning when she was a child, Mariel utilized negative coping mechanisms to battle her bi-polar disorder and feelings of insecurity and inferiority. After developing an eating disorder and resorting to self-harm, Mariel spent the majority of her teenage years afflicted with alcohol and drug addiction. Mariel entered recovery in 2007 and has been able to maintain continuous, long-term recovery since then.
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Andrew Onimus had it all entering his senior year at Muhlenberg College. He was a starting defensive back for the football team, named captain of the track and field team, and already had a full-time position upon graduation with a large accounting firm in Philadelphia. However, an injury in the first game of the season and increasing pressure to perform caused drastic changes for him. Andrew hid his struggles from family and friends as he pretended that everything was fine, until he experienced suicidal ideations and reached a point where he desperately needed help. With a strong support group behind him, Andrew and his family began taking the needed steps toward recovery. The overwhelmingly positive feedback he received inspired him to continue talking about mental health.
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Jon Burgwin grew up in a home of high-achievers. In middle school, Jon began to experience anxiety that prevented him from being able to achieve not only the goals set for him by his family, but his own. His attempts to avoid the stress brought on by his anxiety drove him to adopt negative coping skills. After turning to his family for help, and receiving their encouragement, Jon was able to find healthy coping skills that he still uses today to manage his anxiety.
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