November 16, 2018 - In This Issue:
Giving Thanks to our
Minding Your Mind Family
By Trish Larsen, Executive Director

On October 28, 2018, we gathered together to celebrate our 11th Anniversary Blue Gene Gala. We heard empowering words from inspiring people, sharing their experiences around the Power of Community. From those who were in attendance to you, reading this note right now, you all are the foundation of our Minding Your Mind community.  

As we enter this season of gratitude and celebration, let's keep in our thoughts and actions that the greatest gifts we can share with one another are the gifts of love, support, friendship, and community. We always say it takes all forms of support to continue our work, and we could not achieve what we do without others sharing their gifts with us. 

Whatever your reason is for following and supporting Minding Your Mind, we are grateful to have you in our community. I hope you appreciate this edition of our newsletter; most of all, enjoy the upcoming holiday season.

Grace & Gratitude
Gifts & Grants Received since 
September 2018
The Be Kind. Always. Foundation
Benjamin Shein Family Foundation
Erlbaum Family Foundation
Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia
Kyle Ambrogi Foundation
Phillies Charities
Simkiss & Block
Regional Updates
Do you want to be a part of something exciting?! We are planning our first ever special event for New England and we'd love for you to help us make it spectacular! A Celebration of Life: Boston is scheduled for May 14, 2019. We are gathering on Wednesday, December 5, 2018, to connect with volunteers and create a planning committee. We welcome anyone interested in participating to join us! Even if you can't make it on 12/5, you can still be a part of this experience. Send an email to Michelle Drolsbaugh for more information.

Speaking of Michelle, you met her in our last issue. Chances are good that if you've been in an around New England since, you've seen her in person, too! Michelle has been out and about, introducing Minding Your Mind to communities and participating in presentations and information sessions. 

Questions or interested in having a MYM speaker come to your organization? Michelle would love to hear from you! Contact her at

We continue to actively recruit Massachusetts -based young adult speakers. If you are interested in working with Minding Your Mind in New England, please visit the Employment s ection of our website. 

The Sefcik Family was honored with the 2018 Changing Minds Award at our 11th Anniversary Blue Gene Gala this year. When presenting their award, MYM executive director Trish Larsen shared, "After losing [their son] T.J. to suicide...they became open in talking about what they experienced with T.J in the hopes of helping other families. Wendy and Steve along with their son Matt, created Remembering T.J.-A Story of Teen Depression, Lessons and Hope along with the Remembering TJ website and blog. The Sefciks have presented to over 25,000 students, parents, educators and mental health professionals...Wendy has been a great friend to Minding Your Mind by giving of her time and talent, and endless connections in New Jersey. Our growth and expansion in New Jersey can be directly attributed to Wendy, who has been instrumental in introducing Minding Your Mind to schools and community organizations all over the state." Congratulations to  Wendy, Steve, and their son, Matt!

We continue to actively recruit New Jersey-based young adult speakers, and are seeking a clinician with experience working in urban areas. If you are interested in working with Minding Your Mind in New Jersey, please visit the Employment section of our website and let's explore how we can bring new stories and experiences to our communities.
Minding Your Mind programs help you initiate the conversations that promote healthy lifestyles and ultimately save lives.  Contact Guy Iacono directly to see how Minding Your Mind can collaborate and partner in helping NJ teens. 
Minding Your Mind partners with many organizations that provide free access to mental health resources. We have a Resources listing on our website - check it out! - that provides information on government and national organizations, as well as local services that can be found in our primary service areas.
Is it a funk?
Is it "the blues"?
It is teenage moods?
Is it stress?
Is it exhaustion?
Is it depression?

The signs and symptoms of depression can often look like something else. How do you know if it is something that will pass, or something that should be treated? The Depression Portal is a one-stop resource to help you answer those questions, learn from others' experiences, and access resources. There is a great "FACTS" page that everyone should read to learn how depression impacts people of all ages, demographics, and situations, and just how treatable depression is. Please take a spin around the site and share with everyone you know.

Click here for more MYM-recommended resources.
November 27, 2018

January 8, 2019
Plymouth, MA

May 14, 2019
A Celebration of Life: Boston
Boston, MA
Follow MYM on Social Media
Click any icon to follow MYM!
MYM hosts an active and ever-growing community of individuals who are interested in making mental health education a priority in our society. We have over 5,000 followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and there is always room for one more. On our networks we share information about events, partnerships, and timely news and articles relevant to the mental health community. Come see what everyone is talking about! 

MYM Blog Welcomes Contributors
Do you have something you'd like to say about mental health? We are actively seeking submissions for blog posts! Please send the piece you would like considered for publication to Maura Wheeler, director of communications and public relations 
Looking Back
11th Anniversary Blue Gene Gala
The Power of Community defined the night
On Sunday, October 28, 2018, Minding Your Mind celebrated with friends, family, and supporters at our 11th Anniversary Blue Gene Gala. It was a wonderful evening, full of reunions, new connections, and inspiring presentations from our award winners and Minding Your Mind Young Adult Speakers.
Gerry Cuddy
Gerry Cuddy, president and CEO of Beneficial Bank, generously served as the evening's master of ceremonies. Minding Your Mind honored honor members of our community and recognize the contributions they have made to advancing awareness of mental health issues and suicide prevention.
Caroline O'Halloran, founding editor and publisher of SAVVY Main Line (above, center, with Team SAVVY), received the 2018 Media Advocate Award. Her thoughtful and honest coverage of mental health issues and the opioid crisis along the Main Line has raised awareness and given hope to families who previously felt as if they were alone in their experiences. Trish Larsen, executive director of Minding Your Mind, said, "Through her honest, forthright, personal, and compelling reporting, she has positioned SAVVY Main Line as a leading voice in raising awareness of the opioid epidemic and its impact on the region, as well as promoting frank conversations about mental health. She has educated our community about bullying, gender identity, and suicide by giving our neighbors a voice and an audience, and we are incredibly grateful to have her as an ally and an advocate."

The Sefcik Family received the 2018 Changing Minds Award for their tireless efforts to support families who have someone living with depression and raising awareness about suicide. [Please see details in New Jersey Regional Update] 

Kim Porter, executive director of Be a Part of the Conversation, spoke about the impact of living through a child battling substance use disorder. Minding Your Mind young adult speakers shared testimonials from students, parents, mental health professionals, and educators who have experienced a Minding Your Mind presentation. You can watch this portion of the program in the video below.

Minding Your Mind 2018 Blue Gene Gala
MYM speakers read testimonials

The evening's program was closed by Minding Your Mind's Kristen Harootunian and her inspiring, personal story that she presents to students and adults as a young adult speaker.
Thank you to the hundreds of people who joined us and support our efforts every day. Click here to enjoy more photos from the event.
Thanks to our Marathoners
On November 4, 2018, six generous and ambition people took on the challenge of a lifetime by running the TCS NYC Marathon on behalf of Minding Your Mind. Andreas, Hannah, Tony, Michael, Shannon, and Patricia raised over $15,000 for mental heath education programs. We are incredibly grateful for their support and inspiration!

Runner Tony Gabriel shared, "
Thank you for giving me this amazing and rewarding opportunity to not only run the marathon, but most importantly raise funds for this important cause. When it came to choosing a charity it only made sense to run for Minding Your Mind, given that running helps with mine, as well as many others' mental health. I'll never forget these last few months, as it has been a great experience."

Tony Gabriel

Congratulations to all of our runners. If you're interested in running in next year's marathon on our behalf, let us know!
LookingForward2 Looking Forward
Join us on Giving Tuesday!

Thanksgiving begins the holiday season for Americans, a time when many are inspired to share their good fortune with those in need.  On November 27, after Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, Minding Your Mind will proudly participate in #GivingTuesday.  

This global day of giving invites individuals to celebrate the holiday season by giving back and creating change in their communities and their world.  It's a day when you can make a big impact on Minding Your Mind and our mission to end the stigma and destructive behaviors often associated with mental health issues.

With your help, we'll raise much needed funds to deliver our mental health education  to adolescents, teens and young adults, their parents, teachers and school administrators.

How can you be a part of it?  Here are a few simple ideas:
  • Consider making a gift 
  • Help us get the word out on social media, using @MindingYourMind and the hashtag #GivingTuesday
  • Take photos to post on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram
  • Do something kind for another person
With your support, we can let young people know they are not alone and encourage them to have courageous conversations that can save their lives.  This holiday season, you can give the gift of possibility.
Start a Mental Wellness Club
High schools, scout troops, youth groups...if you know students who are interested in working together to raise awareness about mental wellness, we can help you start a club! 

Our Minds Matter Clubs further discussion and fight stigma through group activities and school-wide promotion. The three main goals of each club are:
  • focusing on increasing help-seeking behavior
  • promoting social connectedness
  • encouraging healthy self-care and behavior
Contact Jordan Burnham, director of student engagement, to learn more about these clubs:

" Please forward this email to the speaker who was at my son's middle school today...
I want to say, Thank You. You saved my son's life.  Upon hearing this young man speak, my son went to his guidance  counselor  and spoke about his depression. He will receive the help that is needed." 
Featured Speaker
Scott Prendergast introduces students to the Power of Positivity.
As a teenager entering high school, Scott knew his life was going to change - everyone goes through changes in high school, right? What he did not expect was that the change would come in the form of depression.

After being cut from his high school basketball team, Scott began to feel worthless and spent his days mentally abusing himself. It was also around this time that Scott developed severe acne that made him extremely self-conscious about his image. Throughout college, Scott struggled to pull himself out of the self-hatred and negativity that filled his mind, but the issues only grew.

Scott was able to turn his world around by incorporating positivity into his life. It was difficult at first, trying to put small points and acts of positivity into every day. Sticking with these efforts, the more Scott implemented different strategies focused on changing his mindset, the more he began to see his life drastically change. Scott learned how to achieve self-security regardless of what life threw his way. By harnessing the power of positive self-talk, Scott realized that thoughts are just as important as actions.

Scott has a passion for helping others; his goal is to help people overcome the everyday mental obstacles that hold them back in life. His story is powerful, relatable, and relevant to students, and will give parents a window into what their children may be thinking and feeling about themselves. Scott works to inspire others to climb out of the darkness and find the light in their lives.

A teacher at Haverford Middle School (PA) had this to say about Scott's presentation: " Scott was an amazing speaker! He really connected with the students with the way he delivered his story. My students were truly listening and engaged in all he spoke about and asked great questions afterwards!  MYM continues to be such a good organization to bring into our school to discuss the importance of mental health, and letting our kids see they are not alone and there's always help out there!"

To schedule a program with Scott for your school or community, please click here.