Heisman Trophy Winner, Ricky Williams, Unveils Power to Overcome Social Anxiety during Exclusive Event Hosted by Minding Your Mind

Retired NFL Running Back Ricky William plus Cognitive Behavioral Therapist Dr. Judith Beck and Mental Health Advocate Jackie Ricciardi Examine Hot Topic of Social Anxiety and Performance Based Expectations that Lead to Stress and Avoidance Behaviors

Ardmore, PA (February 9, 2016) — Minding Your Mind, the Philadelphia-based organization whose mission it is to provide mental health education to adolescents, teens and young adults, their parents, teachers and school administrators, hosts Heisman Trophy winner and acclaimed NFL superstar Ricky Williams, to examine his very personal experience conquering social anxiety. This topical event that explores mental health and the performance expectations of athletes takes place Wednesday, March 30 at 6:30PM at The Harrison Auditorium of the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at The University of Pennsylvania.  To further explore this widely experienced and often debilitating mental health issue that leads to extreme avoidance behaviors, Williams will be joined by Philadelphia’s renowned cognitive behavioral therapist Dr. Judith Beck of the Beck Institute and Minding Your Mind speaker Jackie Ricciardi.

Ricky Williams retired from professional football when he realized the unhealthy effect of living with social anxiety and pursued his greatest accomplishment to date by following his body’s demands for rest and healing. In a conversation with Minding Your Mind, Ricky shares, “expectations are for athletes to be extroverted and the life of the party. These are expectations that didn’t match me as a person. Social anxiety tells you that everyone is looking at you and talking about you. Once I was in the NFL, they really were. It became overwhelming.”

According to Ricky, his time away from the NFL lead to a life-altering awareness that, “created space for me that was truly transformational.” Since his retirement in 2012, Ricky has been devoted to understanding, integrating, and deepening his journey both inward and out.  His profound and simple message has helped countless people throughout the world find inner peace, more creative space, and greater fulfillment in their lives.  At the core of his message is the statement: You are an Infinite Being having a human experience.  Through straightforward advice and techniques, Ricky has guided many toward growing into “Being”, lessons directly from someone who has been through a life’s journey.

“Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been shown in numerous research studies to be a very effective treatment for this often misunderstood disorder. Social anxiety goes beyond shyness or being introverted and can lead to significant suffering. Fortunately, with treatment, people can overcome this disorder and lead a fulfilling life,” shared Dr. Judith Beck of Philadelphia’s internationally renowned Beck Institute whose mission is to encourage the growth and dissemination of CBT throughout the world through leadership in the field and through the provision of professional training, outpatient clinical services and research.

Minding Your Mind speaker Jackie Ricciardi struggled with depression, anxiety and chronic self-injury from the time she was six years old. Jackie shares, “One in four teens will experience a mental health issue this year, but less than 20% of them will actually seek treatment. The rest will go untreated, voiceless. Our speakers set out each day to show people that there is a promising, bright future beyond the temporary hopelessness of a mental health issue.  I often wonder how my journey through the teen years would have been different if I had the opportunity to hear a Minding Your Mind speaker in middle school. All students who are struggling need to know they are not alone in feeling this way, that help is available, and that even with my imperfections, I am enough.”

This special event is hosted and presented by Minding Your Mind, made possible by the Andrew Kukes Foundation for Social Anxiety and is simultaneously held in conjunction with Philadelphia’s special hosting of the 2016 Anxiety and Depression Conference of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), which begins on March 31.

To register for this event please visit https://mindingyourmind.org/event/no-more-running/ .

The event will be held Wednesday, March 30, 2016 at 6:30pm in the Harrison Auditorium at the Penn Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology, 3260 South Street, Philadelphia PA 19104. Admittance is free for students and adults, and 2 CEU credits will be given to registered social workers for a fee of $20.

About Minding Your Mind

Minding Your Mind was incorporated in 2007 in response to the void of mental health education available to teachers and students in Pennsylvania.  In the 2014-2015 academic year, Minding Your Mind completed 805 presentations to over 76,500 students in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and beyond. Its speakers have been invited to the White House and the United Nations, as well as featured on Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, and ESPN.  Each speaker addresses the need to find healthy coping skills and emphasizes the strength found in seeking treatment.  Minding Your Mind’s goal is to break the silence, move away from crisis-based response to prevention through education, and reduce the stigma and destructive behaviors often associated with mental health issues and illnesses.  To learn more and support this mission, visit www.mindingyourmind.org.

About the Andrew Kukes Foundation for Social Anxiety (AKFSA)

The Andrew Kukes Foundation for Social Anxiety’s mission is to educate social anxiety sufferers, mental health professionals, physicians, teachers, coaches, clergy, friends, family and the general public about the diagnosis and treatment of social anxiety. Foundation grants provide support to organizations focused on educational and outreach initiatives improving knowledge about and the treatment of social anxiety disorder. Please visit www.akfsa.org to learn more.