Sept. 25 at 7 p.m., students and faculty joined author Tim Kreider for a discussion about his book “Refuse to Drown.”
The event was titled “A Son’s Crime, A Father’s Unthinkable Choice and a Journey to Wholeness.”
Kreider kicked off Mental Health Week by giving a PowerPoint presentation about his own struggles with depression, which resulted from some horrific life events that were out of his control.
He shared his struggles as a parent in an account that followed his journey back to hope and joy from the depths of emotional despair.
During the presentation he defined several disorders that people deal with every day of their lives. There are several steps that people with mental health disorders can take.
First, they should admit that they need help. Next, they should admit that they are not alone, and finally, they should know they are valued and loved.
Seeking help starts with the person in the mirror. The more people feel healthy, the more they can change the world.
After his presentation, Kreider answered questions and signed copies of his book, “Refuse to Drown.”
He explained that the title is meant to encourage people who sometimes feel that they are drowning and who feel overwhelmed. He wanted them to know that in those situations, it is important to remember to not give up.
Helping others is what motivated Kreider to write his book. He wanted to touch people’s lives through sharing his story and showing people that they can come back from the hurt and be happy again.
Kreider informed the audience about how to take care of their mental health and how common mental illness is. He strongly encouraged people to seek professional help and stressed that it is nothing to be ashamed of.
Associate professor of biology Dr. Jon Coren shared how he met Kreider in the spring of 2016 at Millersville University’s “Coming Out of the Shadows: Breaking the Silence to Shed Light on Mental Health” conference.
Kreider was the keynote speaker for the event. Kreider and Coren were part of the lunchtime discussion panel in which each person on the panel talked about their own struggles with mental illness and answered questions from the audience. Coren understands the struggles that Kreider expressed in his presentation.
“I have been living with bipolar disorder since I was seventeen and had to take two medical leaves of absence in college due to serious depressions,” Coren said.
“Once I was promoted to associate professor and received tenure at Elizabethtown College, I became an advocate for removing the stigma associated with mental illness.”
Coren is the genetics professor at the College and also teaches several biology classes.
He teaches BIO101 and BIO102 in the spring semester and both courses deal with behavior of the brain. Coren weaves his own story into the BIO211 curriculum. Coren hopes that by telling his story, his students will feel comfortable coming to him to discuss mental health issues.
Junior Missy Ziegler commented on how the event made her more aware of struggles that people with depression face.
“It makes me think of what is happening in our community and how people are feeling,” Ziegler said.
“Having someone share their personal experiences helps to understand mental health better.”
Junior Victoria Veit also attended the event.
“I think it was a great way of kicking off Mental Health Awareness Week. It was a very informational and powerful presentation,” Veit said.
Of all the advice that Kreider gave the most notable was “never get frustrated, surround yourself with readings and friends that will help reinforce this and do not be afraid to seek help.”