On Wednesday, Oct. 17, Eastern Michigan University will be welcoming comedienne Sara Benincasa, who will give students an inspirational lecture followed by a question and answer session.
The presentation, known as “AgoraFabulous,” is free and open to the public and will take place in the Student Center Auditorium from 7 – 8:30 p.m.
Campus Life Student Coordinator Bily Simmons said, “Benincasa’s lecture is her telling of her lifelong struggle with mental illness that led her to consider suicide at the age of 21, and how she turned her journey with depression and panic disorder to a healthy adulthood and a successful career.”
As an award-winning comedienne, writer, blogger and radio talk show host, Benincasa will attempt to reach students in an engaging, funny and inspiring fashion.
“AgoraFabulous” is actually the name of Benincasa’s book where she described her battle with mental illness.
“This event is for fostering a safe space for students to discuss some difficult, sometimes taboo issues,” Campus Life employee Caroline Horste said. “Some of which they might be either very familiar with personally and looking for space to talk, or completely unfamiliar with and looking for ways to be better and more effective allies and advocates.”
“It also does some positive work destigmatizing mental illness,” Horste said. “Often, students do not seek help on campus from psychological services because they are afraid of ‘implicating themselves’ as mentally ill. By making this topic safer to talk about on campus, students can feel better and safer about seeking out help for themselves and becoming advocates for their own needs.”
Simmons said, “Benincasa seems to have a very relatable topic and we are grateful she accepted our invitation to speak to and with students at our event.”
“AgoraFabulous” should be funny as well as informative in a way that shows young people they can overcome issues of mental illness.
“As we do every year, Campus Life tries to find any and all available speakers with credibility to speak on a subject that benefits the students at EMU,” Simmons said. “Sometimes we have speakers or performers on campus to entertain, sometimes to inform and explore a topic.”
Students attending the event can also earn Learning Beyond the Classroom credits, which are needed to meet graduation requirements at EMU.
“This being not only a LBC event, but a discussion about depression, suicide and real-life experience, I believe makes it a very important event for a student to attend,” Simmons said. “We expect this to be a very eye-opening and thought-provoking event.”
Benincasa was a citizen journalist for MTV in 2008, where she covered the presidential election and has also appeared on NBC’s “Today Show,” the CBS “Early Show” and CNN’s “Situation Room.”
She also has a podcast called “Sex and Other Human Activities,” which can be downloaded on iTunes. She has many videos of her comedy on YouTube as well. Benincasa also blogs for XOJane.com and VICE.com.
If you are suffering from depression or any other mental illness do not be afraid to seek help.
EMU students can receive free psychological services at Snow Health Center on campus and find someone to help them or maybe even just find someone to talk to.
For additional information contact EMU Counseling and Psychological Services at 734-487-1118.
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