When Ross Szabo speaks about depression and mental illness, he knows what he’s talking about. He’s been there.
In a speech at William Woods University, Szabo will put a face to a problem confronting one in every five teenagers and young adults in the United States.
WWU will present “What Happy Faces are Hiding: Talking about Depression,” a talk by Szabo, on Feb. 8. The program is scheduled for 7:30 pm. in Cutlip Auditorium of the McNutt Campus Center. It is free and open to the public.
Szabo’s personal story is both powerful and educational. His candid conversation frames mental health in real life language and examples and leaves participants with a genuine understanding of a day in the life of a person living with a mental disorder.
The program is a valuable tool for students looking to better understand their friends who are facing depression or mental health issues. Szabo covers warning signs that can be seen in friends or family members as well as options and resources to turn to when a friend needs help.
Szabo was diagnosed “bipolar with anger control problems and psychotic features” at age 16. He has waged a battle against mental health issues and related problems. He brings a new approach to speaking with his experience, energy and youth.
“When I speak, I am not only speaking about me—I am speaking about a generation. The older generation was quiet about mental illness. It is time for us to stop losing to old ways of dealing with mental health issues and start winning the battle,” Szabo says.
“It will be a challenge to educate a whole society,” Szabo says, yet his efforts have already been applauded. In his position of Director of Youth Outreach for the National Mental Health Awareness Campaign (NMHAC), Szabo is driven to get the dialog going.
Szabo’s presentation is sponsored by the Office of Community Life. For more information, contact Chandra Daffer at 573-592-1658.