A&M-Commerce welcomed Kevin Hines as the 2018 Mental Health Matters Day Keynote speaker, for his presentation Cracked, Not Broken, on April 2 at 2 p.m. in Ferguson Auditorium.
In 2000, two years after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Hines attempted to take his own life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. In the 20 years since his diagnosis, Hines has been a mental health advocate, receiving numerous accolades for his work. Hines has also produced a documentary, and released two bestselling books aimed at suicide prevention. He sits on several boards including the Survivors Committee of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, in addition to his policy work as an Ambassador to the National Council for Behavioral Health. “We’re excited to have Kevin as our keynote to help challenge the stigma of mental health help-seeking,” said Dr. Nick Patras, Director of the university’s Counseling Center, before the event.
Ferguson Auditorium was packed with students, faculty, and staff who attended Hines’ dynamic, funny, and emotional presentation. Hines spoke on handling mental health issues as well as dealing with the loss of others to suicide. “You get a beautiful tomorrow, but you have to be here to get it,” Hines said throughout the presentation.
His keynote ended with an enthusiastic standing ovation and three loud cheers of “Be here tomorrow!” The first 300 students to arrive received a free t-shirt and copy of Hines’ bestselling memoir, Cracked, Not Broken, which he autographed for many of them. “Best speaking event I’ve ever been to,” said an A&M-Commerce student later that day.
In addition to the keynote, the following workshops were offered throughout the day to educate the community about mental health resources available on campus:
Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR)
8:30-l0AM & 3:30-5PM
Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper training teaches ways to reduce suicidal behaviors, prevent suicide, and save lives. Taught by certified QPR trainers, the session lasted 90 minutes, including a presentation and participant roleplay. This training was given to faculty, staff, and students.
Exercise as Mental Medicine
This program focused on education and the benefits of exercise and physical activity as a resource for mental health preventative care.
Faith and Mental Health
Wesleyan Campus Ministry
Rev. Brian Dierolf and the students of the Wesleyan Campus Ministry led a discussion focusing on the mind, body, spirit connection. The discussion included a review of the campus resources available to students who are navigating mental health issues while coping with university life. The evening concluded with a shared meal.
“Many of our students have expressed needing help in finding resources. This is one of the many reasons why we do counseling outreach on campus,” said Dr. Patras.
The event was sponsored by the Counseling Center, Campus Recreation, Office of the President, Lion Athletics, and Student Disability Resources and Services. Go to goo.gl/vS7DkH for more information.