UCLA All of Us Mental Wellness Conference Keynote

4 minute read

You wouldn’t be where you are today without the generosity of all the love story creative contributors, volunteers, and artists who gave you a piece of their heart when they spoke from the heart.

Their courage is what inspired your courage to talk publicly about what you have gone through. The support group is no longer anonymous. And though there are huge benefits in anonymity, such as protecting the identity of a loved one or preventing a slander lawsuit, the truth is, most of us still don’t go to the support groups because the anonymity is there to reinforce the stigma of shame.

Truth is, your suicide attempt could have been prevented had you just listened to your ex-boyfriend when he recommended that you attend an AA meeting. You didn’t want to belong or be associated with that group because that would label you a “loser,” “hitting rock bottom” and “out of control.” What you did discover in the walls of AA was compassion. It was people listening to one another without judgement, where all masks were off, all cards, even the Ace ones, were laid for all to see.

Baring our souls in AA was one of the most therapeutic experiences you’ve discovered. But what about Alejandra, the 12 year old tweener who had taken her life, catalyzed by a breakup?  How could we reach her? AA, NA, SLAA are great resources for compassion, camaraderie, and companionship, but what about the tweens, the teens, and the college students?

As a former tweener teacher for more than a decade who specializes in curriculum design, you were constantly customizing curriculum for the needs of your students, so this was a no-brainer. Make it an “Artist-inspired” journal because the act of journaling is so therapeutic, and the act of journaling together is even more therapeutic, so if you were to get anything accomplished this year, it would be to design the “Artist-Inspired Journaling” program for young adults as a companion book to the journals that we will be producing and scaling.

This is your first keynote. You were nervous as shit. You stayed up all night preparing for it, rehearsing it, getting the timing just right so that it could perhaps create a spark for the UCLA students to break their hearts open. Priya and Arsheeta, conference directors, did a phenomenal job and I could tell that it was one of the most challenging things they did–it was about breaking out of their comfort zone, getting sponsors, marketing to others, creating social media awareness, and much more. They worked all year to put this thing together. You also gained new friends, Jo Pessin, hypnotherapist and certified Master Therapeutic Imagery Facilitator; Emily Wu Truong, a public figure advocating mental wellness for colored women, and Adi Jaffe, Ph.D., executive director of Alternatives Behavioral Health(link is external) and a lecturer at UCLA .

Special thanks to Chaim Dunbar for coaching you prior to this first keynote, to Priya and Arsheeta for hosting and producing the event, and to UCLA’s ALL OF US  for inspiring UCLA students to speak up about their pain.

You watched Dr. Jaffe’s pain to passion story, and now you know you have to get this confluence of filmmakers together so you can start producing The Love Story Journal volume 2 because you want to interview way too many people that you, individually, can handle. It’s time to grassroots campaign. #Crowdfund #KeepingitReal #Pain2Passion


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