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.

Ali Warren Rothrock

Ali Rothrock’s passion for helping people started when she became a firefighter in 2005. Since then she has enjoyed more than thirteen years in the emergency services, both as a firefighter and an Emergency Medical Technician. Ali earned her Associate’s Degree in Fire Science in 2010 and published her memoir, Where Hope Lives, later that year. In 2012 she began traveling around the country to share her story. She became a domestic violence and sexual assault counselor in 2015. Ali speaks about bullying, sexual assault, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, encouraging students to use be aware of their mental health and how to self-advocate and use positive coping mechanisms. In the field of suicide prevention, she is a certified QPR suicide prevention instructor. Ali is currently earning a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with an emphasis in crisis counseling. Ali is also a Certified Trauma Responder with the Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists. Contact Ali at ali@mindingyourmind.org

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.

Emma

Since she was nine years old, Emma has felt the weight of anxiety – even without having a name to call what she was feeling. Her parents set expectations for her to succeed academically and personally. She became a high-achiever in an attempt to fulfill these expectations and hide the growing symptoms of her anxiety. The recognition she received for her achievements made her a prime target for bullying, both in school and on her track team.

Trying to remain “the girl who can do it all” added depression to her anxiety, leading to panic attacks. She didn’t have a name for what she was feeling so she didn’t know she could ask for help. She saw many doctors for the physical manifestations of her mental health issues, all of who told her, “No, there’s nothing wrong.” She knew that wasn’t the case and kept searching for answers. It wasn’t until she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder that Emma felt freed from the weight of not knowing what was going on inside her head. Emma’s story is one of self-advocacy: when the world is telling you you’re wrong, you have to fight to find someone who will give you the right answers.

After transferring universities and moving back in with her family for additional support, Emma has developed healthy coping mechanisms to prevent her bipolar disorder from ever having total control over her life again. She has found writing to be a healthy and supportive outlet to express her feelings. Through her writing, she can monitor any new developments and consider what actions will have a positive impact in processing what it is that she’s experiencing. Emma has found essential oils help keep her balanced and a favorite weighted blanket can provide extra comfort when she feels in need. She shares her story of recovery to inspire other people to advocate for themselves and find their own path through recovery.

Through all of her struggles, Emma has learned that the most important thing to remember is that “crazy,” a word so many people throw around when talking about mental health, is just a concept. She believes that no mental health issue can have power over you if you take the right steps to develop coping mechanisms that work for your individual needs.

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

Deanna

Deanna’s story begins in her junior year of high school, when she began struggling with her body image, depression, and overall feelings of inadequacy. Not knowing how to process these negative emotions, Deanna turned to food in an attempt to cope and eventually developed an eating disorder. What she tried to play off as “just a diet” eventually consumed her entire life. When she went away to college, her life became a cycle of restricting, bingeing, self-harming, and not sleeping. She reached a point where she couldn’t see past the darkness and attempted suicide.

After returning to treatment, she learned to challenge her negative thoughts and find healthier ways to cope. Once she discovered that the thoughts and feelings that led her down that path were not as uncommon as she thought, she was inspired to speak out about her experiences in the hope of showing students they are not alone and that help is out there. Deanna became involved with the National Eating Disorders Association, for which she has raised over $10,000 towards eating disorder prevention, treatment, and education. She also serves on the executive board of the Drexel University chapter of Active Minds, empowering other students to speak about mental health.

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

Kristen

As a child, Kristen experienced significant trauma, including her mother attempting and completing suicide.

When she reached her preteen years, Kristen didn’t know how to manage what she was feeling and turned to alcohol, drugs, and self-harm to mask the pain that she so desperately wanted to keep locked away. The alternative was facing the issues related to her childhood trauma and she did not know how to do that. As a result of this she suffered with debilitating depression and anxiety that affected her in her everyday life. She continued these negative coping skills, including negative self-talk, which drove her down to a very dark place. Quickly, she arrived to a bottom she thought she would never leave.

After going to treatment, where she learned how to replace her negative coping skills with positive ones, she worked hard to incorporate those habits into her life. Kristen attended a recovery high school to finish her education and went on to college. She has many therapy experiences that have proven to be wildly successful, and attends support groups regularly to maintain her ongoing sobriety and abstinence from negative coping skills. Kristen, being a young person in recovery, proves it’s never too late or too early to get the help you need. She has spoken on panels and at board meetings to help educate others in an effective manner break the stigma around mental health and substance use disorder.

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

Kelly

Kelly was raised in a wonderful and loving family, however, something never felt right. She didn’t feel a-part-of or good enough growing up. The people she was surrounded by supported her and loved her unconditionally, yet her mind told her otherwise. Her feelings felt so big and her thoughts felt so loud that she began to feel entirely alone. In an attempt to gain others’ love and acceptance, she strived for absolute perfection in all of her endeavors. However, this created anxiety and a deep fear of failure.

All this negative energy and self-talk eventually fueled Kelly’s attempt to achieve “the perfect body.” She quickly found herself in the midst of an active eating disorder. Her binging, purging, and obsession with how she appeared drove her to a place of despair. In an attempt to escape her eating disorder, she began using drugs and alcohol while in middle school. Her attempt at escape only led to more bondage, as she became physically dependent on these substances. Her drug use led her to abandon all of the activities and relationships that she once loved. After being arrested multiple times and having her freedom at stake, she made the brave decision to seek help by attending a drug and alcohol treatment facility. During this time, she learned how to cope with her substance use disorder, her negative relationship with her body, as well as the anxiety and fear of failure she had experienced growing up.

Thanks to the dedication she shows to her active and ongoing recovery, Kelly now lives a positive life full of travel and adventure. She hopes to help other young people cope positively with their internal thoughts, making sure they reflect the unconditional love that is in the world.

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

Joey

Joey always knew that he wanted help people who experienced mental health issues, and he expected that to come by pursuing a career in psychology. What he never expected was that he would have to deal with mental health issues of his own.

Joey grew up in a loving family and always did very well in school, even though he was hiding his fears and truths from those around him. Being Puerto Rican, in school Joey was afraid of appearing like he didn’t belong in upper level courses; he didn’t want it to seem that he was a token minority. When Joey realized he is bisexual, he was not able to accept it. The fear of his family’s disapproval led him to keep it a secret from everyone in his life. His goal became to act like he fit in and get into college.

Once away from his family and away at college, his insecurities and internal struggle deepened his dislike of himself. He fell into a very deep and intense depression that manifested into a desire to self-harm, suicidal ideation, anxiety, and panic-attacks. Self-harm became a negative coping skill to deal with the intense depression and anxiety that he was feeling.

Eventually, Joey realized that he did not want to continue living in that painful existence. He took action by entering therapy and began taking medications to help with his depression and anxiety. Today, he is much stronger emotionally and is managing his mental health. Even though his family is still working to balance their love for Joey with deeply held religious beliefs that cause them to struggle in accepting his sexuality, he is happy with himself and that he was able to get to this place in his life. His goal is to share his story with others, to help everyone get to a place where they can accept themselves and work to become the best person they can be. He wants everyone to know that there’s always hope, and with perseverance and understanding, things can get better.

Joey is based in Western Massachusetts. Speaking engagements beyond 120 miles may require a fee for travel expenses.

Brandon R. Everett, RN, BSN, CMT

Brandon was first introduced to the practice of mindfulness meditation while working as a Registered Nurse in a bustling inner city cardiac intensive care unit. The practice was so transformative that he resolved to complete whatever training was necessary to offer the practice in a thorough and authentic way. In 2017 he graduated from ClearLight Meditation Institute’s rigorous two-year, 900-hr Meditation Teacher Training. Since then he has shared mindfulness widely — bringing the practice to meditation and yoga centers, as well as nonprofits, universities, and hospitals throughout the Greater Philadelphia area. His instruction emphasizes the practical application of mindfulness to daily life. In the spring of 2019, he will be co-facilitating Philadelphia’s first and only Trauma-Informed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program.

Deb

Deb Cyb, MA

With a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, Deborah Cyb was a classroom teacher for many years. She started practicing mindfulness in 2005 and was inspired by how it can be used to develop a toolbox of coping strategies to reduce stress and increase mental wellbeing. Deborah recognized how valuable the skills developed from mindfulness would be in a classroom and merged her passion for mindfulness with her passion for teaching. This inspired her to move beyond a practitioner of mindfulness and become an instructor. Deborah has completed several Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Programs from the Mindfulness Institute of Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia. She has completed all of the Mindful Schools course work and is a Certified Mindful Schools Instructor.