As a both a friend and colleague of Kristen’s, Laura Pasquini took a few minutes to share in a podcast how important it is to be open about having mental illness as a higher education professional.
Transcript from Laura’s Podcast
At the 2015 ACPA Convention I was impressed how you take and share more about your personal experience in dealing with mental illness in your PechaKucha talk. I was inspired, Kristen, about the way you shared yourself and continue to #StompOutStigma for mental health awareness. Not only has your effort brought about advocacy for peers in higher education, it has also made others think broadly about the way we discuss issues of mental health for practitioners who work in the post-secondary environment.
Prior to this brief, but important, talk you had shared a little about yourself and your mental illness with myself and a few select few friends and peers in our shared personal learning network. Once this talk was recorded and uploaded to YouTube, it has become an even more impactful way to initiate the taboo conversation around issues of depression, suicide, and more. A number of our peers look to you, Kristen, for making this difficult topic more open and approachable –and I can see both the direct and indirect way your sharing about mental illness issues has impacted others in higher ed.
Kristen, I love how the Committed book and now The Committed Project has become a platform for open discussion. It’s amazing to see how you have transformed this online space into an educational resource and tool for awareness to help dismantle myths and misconceptions about mental illness. I’m not sure our relationship has changed all that much, personally; however, I know your ability for being REAL about this topic has let down a few barriers that our peers and colleagues can now feel open and okay about bringing these issues out of the dark. Thank you for this. Mental illness and issues shared by The Committed project provides a starting point for conversations on our campuses and among colleagues in a field of “helpers” who often don’t take care of themselves first. I am thankful for the community and conversations that you have instigated among peers and challenges you continue to push forward as we consider how to better support staff we work with. Conversations about mental illness does not occur enough – yet you frequently remind us it needs to, before it is too late. Thanks for doing that, Kristen. And thanks for thinking about us first.