Ross Szabo to lecture on mental health awareness Aug. 30

August 20, 2009

'What Happy Faces are Hiding'

Ross Szabo, director of youth awareness for the national mental health awareness campaign, shares his personal and powerful story about his struggles with mental illness Sunday, Aug. 30, 7:30 p.m. in the Center for Faith and Life Main Hall on the campus of Luther College.

The program is open to the public with no charge for admission.

Szabo's thoughtful, memorable and candid conversation will provide valuable insight on how you can better take care of your own mental health. He encourages college students to open dialogue about depression and suicide. Diagnosed bipolar at age 16, Szabo has learned firsthand about the intricacies of mental disorders.

Using his own struggles as the backdrop, Szabo helps students gain a better understanding of depression.

"I am someone who took a leave of absence from college due to a depressive episode, then recovered and returned to earn a degree. I am a success story just like many others who seek help," Szabo said.

As Szabo teaches students about the complexities of depression, he empowers them to seek help or encourage their friends to seek help. Depression is highly treatable but too often remains hidden in silence preventing people from achieving recovery.

The program focuses specifically on mental health, and how societal stereotypes can lead to increased loneliness, isolation, and suicide. Szabo uses tasteful humor and insights to help participants understand common mental health conditions and individual differences. He also lists warning signs that students can look for in their friends and peers, as well as resources that can provide guidance in these sensitive situations.

The presentation is co-sponsored by the Luther Counseling service, Active Minds, Luther Lecture and Fine Arts, Luther Lifetime Wellness Program, Winneshiek County's Central Point of Coordination, and Community Circle of Care.