Medical professionals from various areas of the field attended a panel in Shippensburg University’s Orndorff Theatre to speak on the background and misconceptions surrounding depression.
SU professors, students and members of the community attended and participated in the “Symposium on Depression: Recovery through the Life Span,” in an effort to bring to light the seriousness of depression and the effect it can have on people of all walks of life. This year’s symposium was held from 1–3:30 p.m. in multiple rooms of SU’s Ceddia Union Building.
The panel was composed of psychologist Linda Chalk, counselor and community member Michael Flood, OB/GYN Thomas Orndorf, behavioral health specialist Don Mock and registered nurse and educator Linda Shumaker. The Multi-Disciplinary Mental Health Collaborative, comprised SU faculty, medical professionals and members of the local community, presented the second annual event on Nov. 18 with the purpose of bringing information about mental illness every year.
“We are looking to educate everyone on serious health issues and show they can affect anybody, regardless of age,” SU professor Charlene Lane said. “This event focuses on depression and we’re hoping to host a new event every year.”
The event began with a panel discussion at which medical professionals gave insight about experiences and strategies for tackling depression.
“There’s a common stereotype that depression happens with age,” Linda Shumaker said.
“Many elderly individuals think this and say ‘I’m old, I have losses, of course I should be depressed.’”
Many stereotypes of depression were debunked throughout the panel, while also highlighting the seriousness of the illness and the need to get people the professional help they need.
Following the panel, the audience broke up into breakout sessions. Each session’s presentation contained material related to a specific aspect of depression. The presentations included depression with veterans, aging, the workplace, postpartum and college students.
“The event is great because we are able to raise awareness, letting people know everyone experiences depression at one point or another,” said senior psychology major Stephanie Coats, a member of the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI).