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Robertson Lecture

College Student Mental Health at the Edge


Thursday, February 10, 2022
Online 4:30 - 5:30 PM EDT

After keynote speaker Joseph Behen’s Robertson Lecture, a diverse panel and all audience members will have a chance to engage in a conversation about compassion, equity, and artmaking amidst unprecedented levels of distress. Building on Why I Fight, or Team Wristband (January 14), this event is the second in a series during Winter 2022 engaging with creativity and mental health.  

This event is free and open to the public! All are welcome. Registration is required. 

Keynote Speaker

Joseph Behen

Joseph Behen

Joseph Behen, Ph.D., is the Dean of the Wellness Center at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and has been on staff since 1994. He was project director for SAIC CARES, a three year (2011-2014) suicide prevention effort at SAIC funded by a SAMHSA suicide prevention grant. He was recipient of the 2015 Gallagher Koster Innovative Practices Award funded by the American College Health Foundation for the project College Health and Counseling Services as Essential Champions for Transgender Student Well- being. He has guided SAIC's participation in several national, collaborative efforts addressing college student mental health, including the Bringing Theory to Practice Project, the National College Depression Partnership, the Healthy Minds Study, and a NIMH-funded study of Mental Health First Aid. He received his MS and PhD in Clinical Psychology, with a subspecialty in Medical Psychology, from the University of Florida and a BA in Psychology from the University of Michigan. He completed his internship at the Northwestern University Medical School. His professional interests include the unique mental health needs of art students, the role mental illness plays in attrition from college, public health approaches to mental health on college campuses, mental health consultation, and crisis intervention.

Moderator

Judy Gardner

Judy Gardner

Judy Gardner is the Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Washtenaw County with over 25 years of experience in the nonprofit field. Previous to becoming the Executive Director of NAMI Washtenaw County, Judy served as Secretary on the board of Community Action Network working to build a community center and foster youth empowerment initiatives as a part of the Bryant Community.

Over the past years, she has grown NAMI Washtenaw County from a small grassroots nonprofit to a key provider of support to the local mental health community.  Inspired by her own experience as a caregiver for a loved one with a serious mental health condition, she prides herself on championing inclusivity by building environments where differences are celebrated. Under her tenure at NAMI Washtenaw County, Judy has continued her work on inclusivity by spearheading community initiatives that improve mental health care for those facing increased barriers to access.

Most recently, her work with NAMI has contributed to a Congressional Commendation adopted by Congresswoman Debbie Dingell recognizing NAMI Washtenaw County’s continued dedication and championing of mental health causes. She also serves as a member of the Washtenaw Equity Partnership Working Group and Behavioral Health Subcommittee. 

Panelists

Ari Coester

Ari Coester

Ari Coester is a senior double major in Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity and Creative Writing and Literature. In addition to his majors, he is a self-taught comics artist and writer. Throughout his life, Ari has struggled with mental illnesses, including OCD, PTSD, bipolar, generalized anxiety, and social anxiety, and has been in and out of therapy since he was 13. His struggles with mental illness have been exacerbated by the marginalization he faces due to being a transgender man, panromantic, and demisexual.

He is particularly interested in the intersectionality of stigma faced by queer individuals with mental health issues as well as the specific mental health issues that face the queer community. His work focuses on mental health issues, grief, queerness, and art as a way of forming new connections. He was awarded an honorable mention in the Mary Barnard Academy of American Poets Prize Contest for his poem “Transitions.” He has also won the Faculty Panel Award in LSA’s Science as Art Competition for digital illustrations two years in a row, first for  “An Eulogy for Achatinella mustelina” and then for “A Coelacanth’s Revival.”

Hank Greenspan

Hank Greenspan

Henry (Hank) Greenspan is an emeritus psychologist, oral historian, and playwright recently retired after more than thirty years of teaching and counseling in the Residential College of the University of Michigan. In 2012, he was a Fulbright Visiting Research Chair at the Centre for Concordia University in Montreal and frequently shares his work on Holocaust and genocide survivors around the world, most recently in Berlin, Jerusalem, London, New Delhi, Montreal, Toronto, Malmo, Stockholm, and throughout the U.S. He is currently working closely with Sweden as that country plans its first Holocaust museum.

Greenspan’s play, REMNANTS, based on now forty years of work with Holocaust survivors, was originally produced at WUOM-FM for distribution on National Public Radio and has been presented as stage play at over 300 venues worldwide, including the John Houseman Theater in New York, the New British Library, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the Magdeburg Attic Theatre in the former Theresienstadt camp. His most recent piece is “Death / Play or The Mad jester of the Warsaw Ghetto," produced in 2021 in New York.  He is a lifetime member of the Dramatists Guild.

Andrew Shu

Andrew Shu

Andrew is a mental health services consumer and a Master of Social Work graduate of the University of Michigan. Andrew’s passion for mental health first started in high school when he realized that he was not going to be the class valedictorian, so he tried to make his mark on the school in a different way. In the tumultuous time of the teenage years, Andrew served as the bedrock for his friends by becoming their de facto counselor and helping them through relationship issues, academic disappointments, and parental pressure.

After transferring from community college to UC Berkeley, Andrew became lost and disillusioned about society due to his burgeoning drug use. This led to a full-on mental health crisis where he was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. It took years for Andrew to reclaim his life and continue where he left off. Without the support of his family, friends, mental health community, and substance-free community, Andrew believes that his recovery would not have been possible. Andrew is thankful for everyone who helped him throughout his journey and he will continue to fight for a better tomorrow.