University of Central Arkansas

UCA Norbert O. Schedler Honors College hosts 2022 Challenge Week

Conway Institute of Music

CONWAY— The University of Central Arkansas Norbert O. Schedler Honors College will host its 2022 Challenge Week titled “The Mental Health Crisis: Finding Our Way” from Monday, Oct. 24 to Friday, Oct. 28.

Through the week’s events, students will draw on a variety of disciplines and practices to explore ways to understand and approach individual and collective anxieties, grief and trauma. Events Monday through Thursday are sponsored by the Schedler Honors College and are free and open to the public.

Schedler Honors College alumna Whit Barringer will speak on the history of mental illness on Monday, Oct. 24 from 4-5 p.m. in the McCastlain Ballroom.

Sarah Jaquette Ray, chair of the environmental studies department at Cal Poly Humboldt in Arcata, California, will discuss climate anxiety with students on Tuesday, Oct. 25 from 6-7 p.m. in the Ida Waldran Auditorium.

Kayla Gowin, clinical instructor and licensed therapist at the UCA Counseling Center, will hold a workshop to help students identify their personal values and discuss how knowing these values can improve their mental health. This event will be on Wednesday, Oct. 26 from 5-6 p.m. in the Ida Waldran Auditorium.

Ordained Zen Buddhist priest Zenju Earthlyn Manuel will discuss what students can learn from Buddhist practices when it comes to addressing mental health on Thursday, Oct. 27 from 7-8 p.m. This event will be on Zoom.

The theme for this year’s Challenge Week stems from Honors College students’ request after the March White House release of a fact sheet on the national mental health crisis. The piece showed two out of five adults report systems of anxiety or depression, and minority communities are disproportionately undertreated. The trauma and physical isolation from the COVID-19 pandemic has only increased these outcomes.

Founder of the PostSecret Project, Frank Warren will host a public talk on his project and its evolution into a call for better mental health outcomes and suicide awareness and prevention on Friday, Oct. 28, from 7:30-9 p.m. at Reynolds Performance Hall. Tickets can be purchased through Reynolds.

The PostSecret Project is a community mail art project where people mail their secrets anonymously to Warren’s home on postcards. The collection of one million secrets are used in art exhibits and books or posted on the PostSecret website. Nearly four million people visit the website every month, which has raised $1 million for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

Warren has appeared on Good Morning America, the Today Show, CNN, NPR and CBS Sunday Morning to talk about his project. He has written six PostSecret books, including the New York Times bestselling “PostSecret Confessions on Life, Death and God.” Warren’s TED Talk has also been viewed over three million times.

The Norbert O. Schedler Honors College, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, hosts Challenge Week as a way to bring a range of regional, national and international speakers to campus to discuss a specific issue impacting society. Speakers present compelling information and arguments, challenging audiences to see the problem from a new perspective and to take action toward thoughtful change.

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