Keep Sound Minds President Becomes Part of Minding Your Mind

After eight years of substantive and relevant work within New Hampshire and Massachusetts, the founders and board of directors of Keep Sound Minds (KSM) have made the decision to dissolve the foundation and end outreach and other efforts in the near future.

Based in New Hampshire, the nonprofit charity was founded in 2008 by Danielle and Ken Lambert after the tragic and untimely deaths of their children and Danielle’s sister. KSM’s main goals included mental health awareness, often focusing on suicide prevention projects and programs. Over the past eight years, KSM has worked alongside many quality charitable mental health and advocacy groups. As such, KSM will be donating their remaining net assets to Minding Your Mind, as well as the following like-minded organizations:

Samaritans of Greater Boston: Samaritans has been providing compassionate suicide prevention programs for 40 years. Samaritans’ mission is to reduce the incidence of suicide by alleviating despair, isolation, distress and suicidal feelings among individuals in the Greater Boston community, 24 hours a day; to educate the public about suicide prevention; and to reduce the stigma associated with suicide.

The Connor’s Climb Foundation: The mission of The Connor’s Climb Foundation (CCF) is to provide educational programs directed toward preventing suicide. It does this by raising awareness, reducing stigma, and equipping youth, educators, and communities with tools and resources focused on the vulnerable age group of 10-24 year olds.

Treatment Advocacy Center: the Treatment Advocacy Center is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating barriers to the timely and effective treatment of severe mental illness. The organization promotes laws, policies, and practices for the delivery of psychiatric care and supports the development of innovative treatments for and research into the causes of severe and persistent psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

“There is a time for everything, in life and in organizations, and we feel that now is the right time to dissolve Keep Sound Minds,” states co-founder Ken Lambert. “While there is still much to do in the realm of mental health awareness and education, Danielle and I, along with our board of directors, feel strongly that KSM made a positive impact in our communities. We want to sincerely thank all of the volunteers, supporters, and donors that have enabled KSM to exist and thrive all these years. It takes a lot to run a charity, but we know that we helped many people over the course of our work. We would not trade this experience, as we have met and spoken to many wonderful people.”

The KSM website and Facebook page will remain up and running for a short time, providing updates on programs provided by Minding Your Mind and the other organizations listed above.

Lambert has been named to the Massachusetts Advisory Board for Minding Your Mind, an organization whose mission it is to provide mental health education that can break the silence and end the stigma and destructive behaviors associated with mental health issues. “We are honored that Ken has chosen us to continue Danielle’s and his legacy of mental health education and suicide prevention in Massachusetts,” says Trish Larsen, executive director for Minding Your Mind. “Ken will be an incredible guide for us with his thoughtful insight and passion to ensure the youth of today have the understanding to change the world of tomorrow.”

Minding Your Mind is hosting a “Meet Minding Your Mind” event on November 16, 2016, 7:00PM at the Newton Free Library. This event is open to the public and will feature a panel discussion with Lambert and Minding Your Mind young adult speakers.

Minding Your Mind Brings Nationally-Renown Mental Health Education Programs to Massachusetts

mym-massachusettsIntroductory Event Scheduled for November 16 at Newton Free Public Library

Ardmore, PA (October 18, 2016) — Minding Your Mind, an organization whose mission it is to provide mental health education that can break the silence and end the stigma and destructive behaviors associated with mental health issues, is bringing its highly-recognized set of programs to Massachusetts.

Through the generosity of the Jack Satter Foundation, and modeled after its highly-successful and established programs in the greater Philadelphia, New York, and New Jersey regions, Minding Your Mind plans to develop a significant presence and collaborative relationships in Massachusetts to improve the lives of adolescents, teens, and young adults.

“As part of ongoing national outreach, our young-adult speakers have been invited by individual schools and communities throughout New England to speak on mental health and suicide prevention,” shares Trish Larsen, executive director of Minding Your Mind. “We are thrilled to have a permanent presence, providing us the opportunity to develop long-term relationships with schools and communities, and work closely with other like-minded organizations in Massachusetts.”

One such organization is Keep Sound Minds. In 2008, Danielle and Ken Lambert lost their two children and Danielle’s twin sister in an unimaginable incident on a Massachusetts highway. That same year, Danielle and Ken founded Keep Sound Minds to honor their young children and Danielle’s sister, Marci, and to increase awareness about the importance of education and improved treatment of mental health disorders. “Marci and our young children, along with our entire family, have suffered the consequences of misunderstood, unrecognized serious mental illness,” says Ken Lambert, co-founder and president of Keep Sound Minds. “We believe flawed policies and lack of information and education regarding mental health contributed to this tragedy. The goal of Keep Sound Minds has been to change that, and we are impressed with the programs and the young adult speakers of Minding Your Mind.”

Of all its offerings, Minding Your Mind’s Speaker Program is the most popular and requested from schools and communities. The speakers – dynamic young adults who have struggled with mental health issues – visit schools and community groups to share their personal experiences and recovery. The presentations, which are free of charge to the host organization, occur during school assemblies, health classes, workshops, and evening sessions with parents. Issues that are addressed in these presentations include: mood disorders, suicide ideation, eating disorders, addictive behavior, self-harm, and bullying.

Presented to hundreds of thousands of college, high school, and middle school students, the Speaker Program is an evidence-based contact strategy to reduce stigmatized attitudes about mental health issues. Through research conducted by the Scattergood Foundation, statistical analysis of the Speaker Program shows that the program is improving students’ attitudes about seeking mental health services.

Minding Your Mind welcomes the public to an open community forum on Wednesday, November 16, at 7PM in the Newton Free Public Library in Newton, MA. Here, you will have the opportunity to hear from three of Minding Your Mind’s young adult speakers, as well as Ken Lambert of Keep Sound Minds, and meet staff members to discuss how your school or organization can benefit from Minding Your Mind programs. To register for this free event visit: mindingyourmind.org/events.

2019 A Celebration of Life: Philadelphia an Historic Success!

On Thursday, May 9, 2019, over 500 people gathered in Philadelphia for the fourth annual A Celebration of Life: Philadelphia. Led by an all-volunteer committee of Minding Your Mind’s Young Professionals Board and friends, this year’s event was the most well-attended and charitable to date, with all proceeds funding mental health education and suicide prevention programs in the greater Philadelphia region. Chairperson Matt Robinson welcomed attendees and discussed the history of Minding Your Mind as well as the purpose of A Celebration of Life. He presented the 2019 Emerging Minds Award to Jessica Griffin and Tim Griffin of The Be Kind. Always. Foundation. Established in memory of their younger brother, Stephen, who lost his life to depression at the age of 19, The Be Kind. Always. Foundation works to promote kindness among youth through schools and community activities. The profits from their clothing line, D.O.P.E. Dare to Offer Peace to Everyone, fund programs that focus on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues and suicide.

A Celebration of Life: Philadelphia chairperson, Matt Robinson

Tim Griffin and Jessica Griffin of The Be Kind. Always. Foundation, 2019 Emerging Minds Award recipients.

Those gathered spent the remainder of the evening dancing to music from The International DJ Casper and celebrating life.

Kyle Craig

A Celebration of Life began in 2011 to honor the memory of Kyle Craig, a 21-year-old student at Vanderbilt University who took his life in May of 2010. Kyle was a dynamic friend to many; a bright, handsome, and gifted individual across music and athletics, but whose strength of character enabled his growing struggles to be hidden from view. In the nine years since it began in Nashville, this annual event has expanded to New York and Philadelphia, engaging more than 3,000 young professionals in the service of suicide prevention and mental health awareness. For more information on A Celebration of Life: Philadelphia or the Minding Your Mind Young Professionals Board, please contact Maura Wheeler at maura@mindingyourmind.org.

 

Enjoy more photos from the event!

2019 A Celebration of Life: New Jersey
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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.

 

Minding Your Mind Granted Charity Entries for the 2016 Blue Cross Broad Street Run

Runners guaranteed entry and given a chance to help others

Ardmore, PA (February 23, 2016)Minding Your Mind has been granted four charity entries for the 2016 Blue Cross Broad Street Run. The race will take place on Sunday, May 1, 2016.

“Minding Your Mind is grateful to the Blue Cross Broad Street Run for this generous opportunity,” said Trish Larsen, the organization’s executive director. “The Blue Cross Broad Street Run is the largest ten-mile race in the United States, and an event revered in the Philadelphia region.  Runners who’ve dreamed of an opportunity to participate in this iconic race can partner with Minding Your Mind to achieve their personal goals, and help Minding Your Mind achieve ours.”

Minding Your Mind’s primary objective is to provide mental health education to adolescents, teens and young adults, their parents, teachers, and school administrators. The goal is to reduce the stigma and destructive behaviors often associated with mental health issues and illnesses.  Educational programs provide information regarding signs and symptoms of these disorders, in addition to stressing that they are treatable and treatment is available.

The Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation’s Blue Cross Broad Street Run began in 1980 with 1,500 runners and grew over the years to 2015’s total of over 41,000 registrants.  Racers who qualify for the four charity entries belonging to Minding Your Mind will be assigned a bib number in exchange for raising a minimum of $500 in support of Minding Your Mind.  Interested runners must contact Minding Your Mind by March 30, 2016.

 

About the Blue Cross Broad Street Run  The Blue Cross Broad Street Run is owned and managed by the Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Department with the cooperation of city agencies and more than 90 volunteer groups. The race is always held the first Sunday in May, and the course includes a variety of Philadelphia neighborhoods along Broad Street. The race raises funds for the American Cancer Society and supports numerous community and charity programs throughout the Greater Philadelphia area.

 

Teen Suicide Rates in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

Youth Suicide Infographic (final) copy

The Montgomery County (PA) Department of Behavioral Health recently released statistics on teen suicides in the county. “While the rate for 15-24-year-olds is lower than any of the adult age groups, it’s over 10 times higher than that of younger children,” as stated in the June 2016 report from the Montgomery County Suicide Prevention Task Force. “So something happens, very suddenly and intensely, to youth as they move from elementary/middle school age to high school/college age. And despite the low percentage of completed suicides in this age group, anecdotal data shows the percentage of youth struggling is far higher.”

In a poll conducted by Hope 4 Tomorrow, students were asked to respond to the following question: “Have you ever had thoughts of wanting to end your life?” Possible answers were: Yes, at some point; Maybe, but unsure if I wanted to die; No, Never.

53% said “Yes” or “Maybe”. This suggests the number of young people struggling is much higher than those who actually complete suicide.

The implications are as follows:

  • The large number of students reporting thoughts of suicide is much larger than those who actually complete suicide
  • This suggests that while the overall suicide rate for young people is (comparably) low, the need to provide support for this age group remains high
  • Suicide-prevention interventions may have unintended positive effects outside of suicide rate reduction

Minding Your Mind offers suicide prevention training for schools and communities. Please use the “Book A Speaker” link at the top of this page to schedule a program.

Data provided by the Montgomery County Suicide Statistics and Data Presentation, published June 2016.

Minding Your Mind Celebrates 11th Anniversary at 2018 Blue Gene Gala

On Sunday, October 28, 2018, Minding Your Mind celebrated with friends, family, and supporters at our 11th Anniversary Blue Gene Gala. It was a wonderful evening, full of reunions, new connections, and inspiring presentations from our award winners and Minding Your Mind Young Adult Speakers.

Gerry Cuddy, president and CEO of Beneficial Bank, generously served as the evening’s master of ceremonies. Minding Your Mind honored honor members of our community and recognize the contributions they have made to advancing awareness of mental health issues and suicide prevention.

Caroline O’Halloran, founding editor and publisher of SAVVY Main Line, received the 2018 Media Advocate Award. Her thoughtful and honest coverage of mental health issues and the opioid crisis along the Main Line has raised awareness and given hope to families who previously felt as if they were alone in their experiences. Trish Larsen, executive director of Minding Your Mind, said, “Through her honest, forthright, personal, and compelling reporting, she has positioned SAVVY Main Line as a leading voice in raising awareness of the opioid epidemic and its impact on the region, as well as promoting frank conversations about mental health. She has educating our community about bullying, gender identity, and suicide by giving our neighbors a voice and an audience, and we are incredibly grateful to have her as an ally and an advocate.”

The Sefcik Family received the 2018 Changing Minds Award for their tireless efforts to support families who have someone living with depression and raising awareness about suicide. When presenting their award, Larsen shared, “After losing [their son] T.J. to suicide…they became open in talking about what they experienced with T.J in the hopes of helping other families. Wendy and Steve along with their son Matt, created Remembering T.J.—A Story of Teen Depression, Lessons and Hope along with the rememberingtj.org website and blog. The Sefciks have presented to over 25,000 students, parents, educators and mental health professionals…Wendy has been a great friend to Minding Your Mind by giving of her time and talent, and endless connections in New Jersey. Our growth and expansion in New Jersey can be directly attributed to Wendy, who has been instrumental in introducing Minding Your Mind to schools and community organizations all over the state.”

Kim Porter, executive director of Be a Part of the Conversation, spoke about the impact of living through a child battling substance use disorder. Minding Your Mind young adult speakers shared testimonials from students, parents, mental health professionals, and educators who have experiences a Minding Your Mind presentation. The evening’s program was closed by Minding Your Mind’s Kristen Harootunian and her inspiring, personal story that she presents to students and adults as a young adult speaker.

Thank you to the hundreds of people who joined us and support our efforts every day. Please enjoy the photos from the event; click on a thumbnail to enlarge and scroll through the slide show.

MYM Speaker Returns to His Alma Mater with a Message

Andrew Muelenberg

When It Comes to Mental Health, It’s Important to Share Your Struggles

A student-athlete who graduated in 2014 returned to campus to speak to the current men’s teams about the depression and anxiety that surfaced during his senior year.

By: Meghan Kita Monday, December 11, 2017 11:52 AM

The week before the first football game of his senior year, Andrew Onimus ’14, an accounting and finance major and a starting defensive back, suffered an injury: a hematoma on his lower back. He was able to play, but not at his full capacity. He didn’t feel like himself. Still, despite the athletic setback, he had one thing most college seniors covet: a full-time job lined up. With that stressor out of the picture, he wondered, why wasn’t he sleeping?

As Onimus, who was also captain of the men’s track team, recounted the downward spiral that began that semester during a speech to Muhlenberg’s men’s teams in the Seegers Union Event Space on November 8, he noted that insomnia was the first red flag. “I never had any mental health education,” he says later. As a speaker with Minding Your Mind, a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit that connects schools with young adults who can talk about their mental-health struggles, Onimus always shares how to know something’s wrong: If you’re in “a rut” for more than a couple weeks, if you’re losing interest in normal activities, if you experience a change in appetite, those are all signs you should seek help.

Onimus didn’t—at least not right away. After a few months in which he felt progressively worse, he got to the point where he was suicidal and in the emergency room. That’s when he learned he was suffering from depression and anxiety, and once he had a diagnosis, he could begin taking steps toward recovery. For him, that meant taking three months off.

“It took me so long to understand what was going on,” Onimus says. “I didn’t even know I needed help because I thought I would snap out of it. Once I reached out, it’s not like I got better right away, but at least I was in that recovery mode. It’s tough to stress that, because a lot of college students have a bunch of responsibilities they’re trying to get done in four years. They think, ‘I can’t miss even a day, let alone a week or a month.’ But I needed to. Sometimes you just need to take time to get your health back.”

Lily Otu, the assistant director of athletics for student athlete development, diversity & inclusion, invited Onimus (and another Minding Your Mind speaker, for the women’s teams) to campus after the athletes requested more information about mental health. She started her role in July, so she hadn’t known Onimus as a student. She reached out to Minding Your Mind after seeing another one of their speakers on ESPN, and while that individual wasn’t available, the organization let her know a Muhlenberg alumnus was on their roster.

“I thought it would be an awesome opportunity for someone to come back and talk about what they went through on this campus and the support they received from many people who are still here,” Otu says.

“I know how fortunate I was to have the support group I have,” Onimus adds, “not only my family, but the resources at Muhlenberg, too: my professors, the coaches, the training staff. The talk at Muhlenberg was probably my most emotional one yet.”

Nigel Long ‘18, a business major who’s a point guard on the basketball team, took away from the speech exactly what Onimus intended: that it’s not only okay to confide in your teammates and coaches when you’re struggling, it’s critical for your health and wellbeing, and it’s just as critical to be receptive to friends who might open up to you.

“Males tend to have a misconception that you can’t have emotion, you can’t be depressed,” Nigel says. “It was good to see somebody who has actually gone through it. Just because you’re this rugged football player, you can still have struggles emotionally. Not everybody is willing to open themselves up and talk about their problems, but it’s important to express yourself.”

Onimus, who balances his full-time job as an accountant with his speaking engagements, says sharing his story is one thing that helps keep him well. “I’ll do an assembly at a high school at 8 a.m. and I’ll see people napping like I would have done when I was a senior,” he says. “I start to think, ‘Is it really worth it?’ But afterwards, when someone comes up crying and saying thank you, I know it is.”

While he continues to have occasional bad days, he now has coping skills—like turning to one of his passions, physical activity—he can rely on. “For the most part, I’m like, ‘I have depression, I have anxiety, but I love life,’” he says. “I have a good job, an awesome family. The people who were there for me when I was crying, upset and hurting are laughing with me on weekends. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.”

Sounding off on teen suicide on the Main Line

As a general rule, Main Line Media News doesn’t report suicides. If we did, readers would read far too many stories of promise and loss at local high schools and colleges. Just last week the funeral of an 18-year-old scholar-athlete from Bryn Mawr who took his own life drew 800 mourners.
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