THE #1 Mental Health Speaker in the Nation. He was Voted Campus Activities Magazine's "Best Male Performer" in 2007
Ross Szabo is the CEO of the Human Power Project. He is an award winning speaker, writer, trainer and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. Ross has spoken to more than 1 million students about the importance of mental health and provided a positive example to empower them to seek help. He received the 2010 Didi Hirsch…
Ross Szabo is the CEO of the Human Power Project. He is an award winning speaker, writer, trainer and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. Ross has spoken to more than 1 million students about the importance of mental health and provided a positive example to empower them to seek help.
He received the 2010 Didi Hirsch Removing the Stigma Leadership Award, 2012 Changing Minds Award and had his advocacy work entered into the Congressional Record. He is the co-author of Behind Happy Faces; Taking Charge of Your Mental Health and a blogger for The Huffington Post.
Ross turned a diagnosis of bipolar disorder at age 16 into an opportunity to educate others. His natural ability to make difficult topics comfortable for large groups of people has led to countless media appearances and articles. He pioneered a movement of youth mental health advocacy and has created trainings to assist new speakers to reach their full potential.
Ross enjoys running and living in the Los Angeles area.
Ernie was perfect for our Elders Conference at Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Michigan. We will definitely be using PDA again!
LITTLE RIVER BAND OF OTTAWA INDIANS
Our speaker was great and the crowd enjoyed her! She was very engaging. Thank you again PDA for the great list of suggestions!
Everything went great! and our speaker was wonderful! Thank you so much for all your help PDA! Looking forward to the next one.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI – KANSAS CITY
I hope that this message finds you well. We had a phenomenal time with Atsuko this past Thursday. We wanted to just let you know how amazing she was. All those that were in attendance thoroughly enjoyed her and had nothing but amazing things to say about her. Thank you for working with us to make sure this happened!
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY CAMPUS
We had a fantastic day with Inge! She was very engaging with all those that attended. Her personal stories about the holocaust were very special and we were moved that she was willing to share them with everyone. Thank you again, PDA for all your hard work and dedication to make this program such a success!
SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Dear PDA Group, Thank you so much for your hard work in scheduling our speaker! From the moment we reached out to you the first time, you worked with us on all details and logistics and kept us up-to-date on the progress. Thank you for all your hard work on making our event such a success! We couldn't have done it without you and your team!
Thank you again, Dr. Kimbrough, for a great presentation, our attendees are still talking about it!
Dr. Henry Lee's presentation was entertaining, insightful and wise. I, and everyone at Pfizer, especially appreciate the remarks you directed about following your passion and preparing yourself to excel. Thank you, everyone, at PDA for helping to make this happen!
The event was successful! I received many messages expressing how awesome, outstanding and inspiring Ms. Webb-Christburg's speech was."
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. MEMORIAL BREAKFAST, BOSTON, MLK SPEAKER
Everything went well. Atsuko was very easy to work with and the students enjoyed her performance! Thank you again for your recommendation and I hope to work with you again in the future!
CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Dr. Novello left this morning after a very successful event on our campus! Thank you PDA Group for your help from the first phone to the last you were with us every step of the way.
GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY
Jordan Carlos was very very entertaining! A majority of students who answered the event survey indicated they really enjoyed Jordan and definitely will bring him back!
WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
On behalf of myself and my organization Entertainment Unlimited the Campus Programming Board of Ferris State University, we thank you PDA and Dan for a successful event!! Dan was magnificent! Students really enjoyed the presentation. I know I did. Can't wait to bring in more programs with PDA Group.
FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY
It was a great pleasure to work with PDA Group! The communication was always prompt, friendly and helpful. We loved the speakers and events we booked through Mr. Peter Walker (PDA Group).
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Thank you, Peter, for all your help, you'll be happy to know that the event went incredibly well! Aneesa Ferreira was by far one of the best speakers we've ever had!
Behind Happy Faces: Talking About Mental Health
When Ross was a freshman in college, everything on the surface seemed to be fine. He was making friends, getting good grades and had a fun social life. However, no one could have imagined how many emotions he was suppressing. Ross was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 16, was hospitalized for attempting to take his own life during his senior year of high school, and like so many other freshman, just wanted to fit in. He tried to hide what he was feeling to convince everyone that everything was ok, but that can only last for so long. Ross’s story resonates with the millions of college students who are putting on a happy face to hide their true emotions.
Mental health challenges are the largest problems facing colleges today. Twenty-five percent of college students experience a mental health disorder. Outside of diagnosable disorders students are dealing with lack of sleep, stress, and substance abuse. While 85% of colleges have reported drastic increases in the amount of young people seeking mental health counseling, understanding and awareness about the issue are still lacking. During these difficult times, it is imperative for young people to express what they are going through, know that they are not alone, and feel comfortable while seeking help.
Ross teaches students about the complexities of mental health issues and empowers them to seek help or help their friends seek help. Most mental health challenges are highly treatable, but too often remain hidden in silence preventing people from achieving the recovery they are capable of.
The program focuses specifically on how students can achieve positive mental health by learning about their coping mechanisms. Ross uses tasteful humor and insights to help participants understand common mental health conditions and individual differences. He also covers warning signs that students can look for in their friends and peers, as well as resources that can provide guidance in these sensitive situations.
Mixed Drinks, Mixed Emotions: Alcohol Abuse and Mental Health
How many times have you seen a friend openly discuss all of their emotions while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and never talk about it again? Sometimes they forget what they have said. Other times they are too afraid to deal with it. A lot of times people are more comfortable addressing their emotions while they are inebriated. Self-medication has been one way college students have coped with difficult situations for many years, but it doesn’t have to continue.
Forty-eight percent of young people with a substance use disorder have a co-occurring mental health issue. It is important to address the reasons why students may be binge-drinking, abusing substances, driving under the influence and engaging in negative behavior. The average college student today is facing overwhelming amounts of stress, workloads, transition, pressure and mental health problems. Often times they suffer in silence, hiding their fears until they become too large to deal with. This program addresses the ties between substance abuse and mental health. The goals are to break down the stereotypes surrounding expression of emotion in order to help young people function at their highest level and teach students effective coping mechanisms.
Ross Szabo at 2016 Peace of Mind Storytellers
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