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Krost Symposium 2022

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We Need To Talk: Community Conversations About Our Mental Health

More than half of Americans say COVID has had a negative impact on their mental health. In February 2021, The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) found 43.4% of adults in Texas reported symptoms of anxiety or depression and 26.4% were unable to get needed counseling or therapy. With discussions around urgency and access, the 2022 Krost Symposium urges campus to have an honest dialogue about mental health, suicide prevention, and resources for college students.

On October 19 and 20, “We Need to Talk: Community Conversations About Our Mental Health,” will examine issues impacting students, faculty, staff, and the people of Seguin. Krost Symposium Chair Dr. Chris Bollinger, professor of Communication Studies, says caring for our physical and mental health has always been difficult, but the pandemic has exponentially increased those challenges.

Schedule Of Events

Wednesday, Oct. 19

  • 10-10:20 a.m. Krost Chapel
  • 7-8:30 p.m. Giesber Keynote Speaker Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas, “Be a Shining Light of Hope: Everyone Plays a Role in Suicide Prevention”
    Jackson Auditorium

Thursday, October 20

  • 8:30-9:15 a.m. Corey Jones, “From Tragedy to Triumph: The Power of Resilience”
    Jackson Auditorium
  • 9:30-10:15 a.m. Rebecca Flintoft, “Trauma Informed Practice in Higher Education”
    Jackson Auditorium
  • 10:30-11 a.m. Leslie Flores, “Empathy, Consequential Choices, and Self-Care“
    Jackson Auditorium
  • 11:15-11:45 a.m. Abigail Muehlbrad, “The Walk with Mental Illness”
    Jackson Auditorium
  • 4:30-5:30 p.m. Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas, “Healing Session for Those who Have Lost Someone”

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas

Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas sees issues of suicide prevention and mental health promotion from a host of perspectives. Clinical psychologist. Mental health advocate. Faculty member. Researcher. And suicide loss survivor.

She has earned an international reputation as an entrepreneur and innovator in social change. Along the way, she’s helped establish many large-scale, gap-filling mental health efforts, including Man Therapy and National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.

She has held leadership roles with the International Association of Suicide Prevention, the American Association of Suicidology, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, United Suicide Survivors International, and the Carson J Spencer Foundation. In 2016, she was invited to speak at the White House on men’s mental health.

She has won multiple awards for her advocacy including the 2015 Farberow Award from the International Association of Suicide Prevention, the 2014 Survivor of the Year from the American Association of Suicidology, the 2014 Invisible Disabilities Association Impact Honors Award, and the 2012 Alumni Master Scholar from the University of Denver.

She received her undergraduate degree in psychology and studio art from Bowdoin College, her Masters in Nonprofit Management from Regis University and her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Denver.

Additional Guest Speakers

Corey Jones

Corey Jones, better known as CJ the Empowerment Speaker, is a TLU graduate, where he majored in Kinesiology with a minor in Psychology. Corey is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health from Our Lady of The Lake University. CJ has been involved in advocacy work for the past 18 years, and he has dedicated his life to serving and empowering people to become their best selves.

CJ has worked with various people from different backgrounds, cultures, and ethnicities. He has spoken at numerous conferences throughout the U.S. and Internationally. CJ has taken the world by storm with his intense and creative-styled presentations on self-improvement, mental health, and leadership development.

CJ is a Les Brown Certified Professional Speaker under the “Your Power Voice Program” and a Life Coach. He is currently featured on the #1 motivational speaking app in the nation (Pep Talk), with Les Brown, Eric Thomas, Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Myles Munroe, and Tony Robbins.

CJ has been interviewed by Fox, NBC, and CBS News and as seen in Buzz Magazine. CJ has been quoted in the Huffington Post and is a 3-time author, including, Surviving a Christian Marriage: A Quick Guide to Marital Bliss, Follow with Intent; Lead with Purpose: The Qualities of a Leader, and Writing A Book: 9 Simple Steps to Get It Done. CJ was awarded the Healthy Teen Network Outstanding Father of the Year Award in 2014.

Rebecca Flintoft

Ms. Rebecca Flintoft (Becca) is passionate about serving others through leadership in higher education. For over 20 years she has worked within and led college student affairs teams with the goal of creating campus communities that best support student learning, engagement, well-being, and sense of belonging.

She serves as Executive Director of Student Affairs for the University of Michigan College of Engineering since August 2022. Prior to that she served for 15 years at Colorado School of Mines, most recently as Associate Vice President of Student Life.

Beginning in 2018, Becca co-chaired Every Oredigger – a comprehensive, campus-wide initiative aimed at promoting mental health, championing resiliency, and preventing suicide at Colorado School of Mines. She served four years as Interim/Deputy Title IX Coordinator and 13 years on the behavioral intervention team. She is author and co-editor of the book Violence Goes to College, 3rd Ed. and has written for the journal About Campus.

She currently serves as chair of the NASPA Center for Women board. In 2022, Becca was awarded the Zenobia Hikes Memorial Award from NASPA in recognition of her work to support the advancement of women in higher education and student affairs. She previously worked at the University of Colorado Boulder and Heidelberg University (Ohio). She earned a B.A. in chemistry and music from Kalamazoo College and an M.A. in college student personnel from Bowling Green State University.

Leslie Flores '19

Leslie Flores grew up on a border city of the southernmost tip of South Texas and a portion of northern Tamaulipas, Mexico. Her experience as a Chicana raised in between both countries has shaped her advocacy work today. The TLU graduate worked under a grant for the Office on Violence Against Women and the Department of Justice in 2019 at TLU. Through her work as Advocacy Coordinator, she was able to coordinate and facilitate sexual violence prevention efforts at TLU and specifically address prevention and intervention for students from rural areas, students of color, and the LGBTQ+ community.

She taught a reflective module and participated in the development and facilitation of several educational workshops. The reflective module was bolstered by work across the social ecology and prevention continuum. It enables bystanders to reach out for help, promote perpetrator accountability, and enhance survivor self-determination and safety.

The educational workshops she facilitated across a range of audiences focused on unpacking and responding to rape culture, hate crimes, sexual violence, healthy and unhealthy relationships, and suicide. After completing her work as an advocacy coordinator, Leslie moved to the UK to obtain a master's degree in Gender Studies at the University of Leeds. Leslie plans to continue her education and pursue a Ph.D.

Abi Muehlbrad '19

Abi Muehlbrad graduated from TLU with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship.

After struggling for quite some time, she was eventually diagnosed with several mental disorders during her junior year. Later in her Senior year of college she discovered NAMI Guadalupe County (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

Abi joined NAMI, trained as a speaker, and advocated in presentations by speaking about her lived experience with mental illness to hundreds of people in the community. Abi is now thriving with her mental health and is currently living in Victoria, Texas.

She is now working for a nonprofit, giving presentations in her community on topics that range from drug prevention to mental health and even self-care.