Youth Mental Health Focus of Two Campus Events in November

Seton Hill has long worked to reduce the stigma around mental illness and to provide resources to students around their mental well-being. 

The COVID-19 pandemic - and the feelings of isolation it caused for many people - have brought conversations about mental health and wellness to the forefront of our national conversation.

In November, the university brought two national events around youth mental health to campus to shine light on the topic.

Seton Hill was one of six Pittsburgh area colleges and universities selected to host the Active Minds Send Silence Packing® display through support from the Richard King Mellon Foundation.

During the event on November 1, a thousand backpacks lined Reeves Learning Commons with photographs and personal stories from individuals who have lost a loved one to suicide. The display has traveled the country for more than a decade to end the silence that surrounds mental health and raise awareness about the impact of suicide and inspire action for suicide prevention. 

Representatives from Seton Hill’s Office of Counseling and Disability Services and Mental Health America of Southwestern PA along with other campus and community resources offered support to those who visited the display.  

On November 10, Seton Hill partnered with WQED, Mental Health America of Southwestern PA and Excela Health to host a community screening of a Ken Burns documentary, “Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness,” at the university’s Performing Arts Center.

The documentary features first-person accounts from more than 20 youth, ages 11 through 27, who live with mental health conditions and presents perspectives from their parents, teachers, friends and health care providers, in addition to mental health experts. 

The screening was followed by a panel discussion moderated by WQED writer and producer Beth Dolinar with local mental health experts, including Seton Hill alumni Tina Desport, a therapist for Adelphoi and Dawn Diehl, instructor and field director for Seton Hill’s social work program; along with Dr. Charma Dudley, Associate Director of Behavioral Health Services at Beacon Health Options; and Marci Sturgeon-Rusiewicz, Senior Manager of Recovery and Resiliency at Wesley Family Services. 

More than 120 people attended the screening and panel discussion.