Evan

As a child, Evan was one of the best-performing students in his elementary school. He achieved one of the top scores in the state in a standardized math test, and was enthusiastic about his classes and learning. At the same time, he was experiencing panic attacks and generalized anxiety, but at this age, he didn’t know how to verbalize what he felt inside. The lack of being able to express his feelings, mixed with the fact that his anxiety was somewhat sporadic, led to him accepting these things as if they were just a part of his personality.

Once Evan entered his final year of middle school, things took a turn for the worse. His anxiety was no longer random, but rather an everyday battle. Still believing it was a personality trait that he just needed to learn to live with, he told nobody in his family about these feelings. The daily panic attacks and generalized anxiety would soon be followed by depression, and eventually problems with substance abuse. The combination of all of these things created a life where he felt he had no control. Still, he never asked for help. Eventually, Evan transformed from someone who had once been a friendly, hardworking student into a person who treated others poorly, all while treating himself even worse.

About two and a half weeks into his senior year of high school, Evan found himself in a situation he couldn’t have ever imagined; he was arrested, kicked out of his high school, and spent his 18th birthday on house arrest. Mentally, he was at his lowest point and truly thought this was the beginning of the end. After one particularly combative interaction with a friend, Evan had what he calls his “ah-hah!” moment. It was the first time he became aware of how his actions were affecting those around him, as well as himself. That day, Evan made a commitment to himself to get through his problems no matter what, and he never looked back. He rediscovered his enthusiasm about learning and his work ethic, putting them to use in modifying his lifestyle and creating a positive mindset. Evan was able to completely turn around his situation and his prospects for the future.

Today, Evan has found his passion in functional health care, and encourages others to combine lifestyle changes with traditional treatments in order to have the best chance at seeing optimal results, both in their physical and mental health. By sharing his story, Evan hopes to spark the “ah-hah” moment for others who are suffering, inspiring them to speak up and ask for help.

Evan is based in Philadelphia, PA. Speaking engagements beyond 120 miles may require a fee for travel expenses.

 

Read what organizations have to say about Evan:

“Evan was an excellent presenter and very easy to understand. He was able to relate well to his audience of youth and young adults.” Youth Move Conference (PA)

“Evan gave a fantastic presentation. He honest story was impactful and real for our students. His passion for finding appropriate coping strategies/treatment were motivational, allowing our students to understand the importance asking for help and not being afraid to share how you are feeling.” Garnet Valley High School (PA)

Jordan

Jordan

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.

Jordan is a nationally recognized mental health advocate. In 2008 he addressed a Congressional briefing on Capitol Hill. In 2010 he was chosen as one of the “Best of Philly” for his work in public speaking and advocacy. In 2012 he was honored with an Emerging Humanitarian Award from retired San Francisco 49ers player Nmadi (Nam-DEE) Asomugha (Awesome-Wah) and the Asomugha Foundation.

 

 

He has been featured in People Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and USA Today. Jordan has appeared on ESPN’s E:60 and Outside the Lines, as well as Dr. Phil, The Ricki Lake Show, CNN, the Early Show and Good Morning America. He has been featured in three documentaries and his piece, “Unbreakable” with E:60 was nominated for an Emmy. Most recently, you might have seen Jordan at the White House for the National Conference on Mental Health, hosted by President Obama and Vice President Biden.

Jordan has been speaking on his story and mental health all over the country for the last 8 years. He’s spoken in 32 different states and 3 different countries. His presentation is meant to inspire, educate and allow others to know they’re not alone.

Jordan is based in Philadelphia, PA. Speaking engagements beyond 120 miles may require a fee for travel expenses.

 

Read what organizations have to say about Jordan:

“Jordan’s presentation was so engaging and full hope. He was prepared, relaxed and confident in his delivery. His audience still brings up the positive impact that it had on them all. His presentation skills were excellent. His adjustments based on his audiences functioning levels were appropriate and the interpretation of his presentation was not lost. He answered questions by our clients after the presentation and he helped them feel good about wanting more information from him. We feel very pleased with his professional presentation, wish him well in the future and appreciate the growth/strength he instilled in this audience.” Catholic Charities Delaware House Partial Care (NJ)

“Jordan was exceptional. He pulled the audience in and made them feel comfortable with a very heavy topic. He brought humor in at the perfect times, which lightened the moment. He spoke about suicide with no shame or secrecy, and I think that made our students more courageous to face their own struggles. I even believe because of the timing of Jordan coming to our school, it helped a male student to come to me to express that he was seriously contemplating suicide and feeling hopeless. That student is now headed into intensive residential treatment to get help. Jordan played a part in that. JORDAN IS A GIFT TO THIS WORLD! I now truly know why he survived. THANK YOU JORDAN!!!” Tabor Academy (MA)

“Jordan did an amazing job relaying his story to our students and connecting with them. He held their attention and allowed us as counselors to have many follow up conversations regarding the topics he discussed.” Lumberton Middle School (NJ)

Jenna

When she was eight years old, Jenna’s father passed away. The effects of this trauma on her young life took a toll. She was diagnosed with anxiety, something she could not comprehend at the tender age of eight.

Beginning in elementary school, and continuing through middle school and high school, she developed negative coping skills. One of the most powerful was perfectionism; however, she only strived to look good for other people and never saw her own worth.

When Jenna started college, she and her best friend made a promise to seek treatment for their diagnoses of anxiety and depression. She faced a series of traumatic events throughout her college experience, and through her commitment to treatment and ongoing therapy, she not only survived but eventually thrived. She is now a mental health advocate, enlightening others and ending the stigma about mental health issues.

Jenna is based in Boston, MA. Speaking engagements beyond 120 miles may require a fee for travel expenses.

 

Read what organizations have to say about Jenna:

“This is the first time Jenna has visited our district and we would welcome her back anytime! Her story and creation of the Amazing campaign are incredibly inspiring and we are honored to spread the word to our school community. Thank you!” Ipswich Middle/High School (MA)

“Jenna’s talk was honest, brave, and empowering. Our students were deeply engaged and connected to Jenna throughout her shared experiences. We are grateful for her ability to encourage conversation and awareness about mental health on our campus. Thank you so much!” Fisher College (MA)

Andrew

Andrew 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 lost his identity and began deeply struggling. His issues started with insomnia with trouble concentrating in class and on the field. This led him to spiral into a deep, lonely hole. 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. After a visit to the ER, he was diagnosed with major clinical depression and severe anxiety, which was extremely difficult for him to accept.

With a strong support group behind him, Andrew and his family began taking the needed steps toward recovery. He took medication for his depression and anxiety and began both psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. It was difficult at first, but over time Andrew began to see a light at the end of the tunnel. He turned to exercise and positive coping skills to work through his inner anger and pain. As his life started to gradually improve, Andrew shared his story in spring of 2014 with many of his teammates, classmates, and friends in the hopes that it would help someone else. The overwhelmingly positive feedback he received inspired him to continue talking about mental health. Andrew’s goal in working with Minding Your Mind is to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issue, and help others who may be suffering to know that they are not alone and that it gets better.

Andrew is based in Philadelphia, PA. Speaking engagements beyond 120 miles may require a fee for travel expenses.

 

Read what organizations have to say about Andrew:

“If you want to make a difference at your school, have Andrew Onimus come talk to your students and parents!” Haverford High School (PA)

“Our students had overwhelmingly positive feedback about the speakers (Andrew & Joey) and how their stories resonated with them and provided great information and hope about dealing with their own mental health.” Hingham High School (MA)

“Andrew was fantastic! He presented to all three grades individually and was able to make it age appropriate for each grade. The students were 100% engaged and I strongly feel he made a connection with our kids. This could be a game changer for our students as they learn how to cope and reach out for help if they suffer from mental health issues.” Winthrop High School (MA)

“Outstanding presentation, Andrew’s openness and honesty was exactly what we need modeled for our students and parents.” Municipality of Princeton – Mayor’s Task Force on Teen Stress and Mental Health (NJ)

“I told my colleagues about Andrew’s presentation – they all want him to come to their classrooms, as well. He was wonderful. My students felt they could really relate to him. I appreciate his honesty. Some said he was the best speaker they have had all year and they have had many. Thank you Andrew!” Crozer Chester Medical Center (PA)

“Andrew was the highlight of the conference. We were truly excited to have such a inspirational story of struggle and hope at our first Alabama Higher Education Suicide Prevention Conference.” Kanessa Doss, COE Director of Operations – Montgomery Campus/ Associate Professor, Psychology, of Troy University

Scott

Scott

As a teenager entering high school, Scott knew his life was going to change – everyone goes through changes in high school, right? What he did not expect was that the change would come in the form of depression.

After being cut from his high school basketball team, Scott began to feel worthless and spent his days mentally abusing himself. It was also around this time that Scott developed severe acne that made him extremely self-conscious about his image. Throughout college, Scott struggled to pull himself out of the self-hatred and negativity that filled his mind, but the issues only grew.

Scott was able to turn his world around by incorporating positivity into his life. It was difficult at first, trying to put small points and acts of positivity into every day. Sticking with these efforts, the more Scott implemented different strategies focused on changing his mindset, the more he began to see his life drastically change. Scott learned how to achieve self-security regardless of what life threw his way. By harnessing the power of positive self-talk, Scott realized that thoughts are just as important as actions.

Scott has a passion for helping others; his goal is to help people overcome the everyday mental obstacles that hold them back in life. His story is powerful, relatable, and relevant to students, and will give parents a window into what their children may be thinking and feeling about themselves. Scott works to inspire others to climb out of the darkness and find the light in their lives.

Scott is based in Philadelphia, PA. Speaking engagements beyond 120 miles may require a fee for travel expenses.

 

Read what organizations have to say about Scott:

“Scott’s presentation was organized, well prepared and flowed logically. It was a very good fit for Upper Dublin HS population. As a support counselor, he verbalized the same sentiments I hear from my students. I think this was validation that they are not alone in their feelings of self-loathing and to see that there can eventually have healing is life-changing.” Upper Dublin High School (PA)

“Scott was an incredible speaker and made quite the impression on the youth he presented to last week at CORA. We really appreciate the vulnerability, compassion, and hope he expressed during his presentation. I will absolutely be recommending him to speak to similar organizations and I hope we can have him back to CORA in the future.” CORA Services (PA)

“We cannot adequately express our gratitude to Scott for sharing his experiences with our students. He is a talented speaker who is very engaging and very relatable. Scott inspires a sense of hope for what can be as one works their way through depression.” Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School (PA)