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Psychology department, Community Howard offer speaker series

July 31, 2015
KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo’s psychology department, partnering with Community Howard Regional Health, educates people about mental health issues, with a free speaker series.

The topic for the Friday, August 7 session is cyber bullying. It is free and open to the public from 8 to 9 a.m. in the Kelley Student Center, Room 130 B. Free parking is available on campus.

Christina Downey, associate professor of psychology, said the goal is to educate people about mental health issues, and remove the stigma surrounding them.

“Mental illness is a ‘we,’ issue, not a ‘they’ issue,” said Downey, chairperson of IU Kokomo’s psychology department. “The number of people who have been diagnosed with a mental health condition, or have someone in their family or circle of friends who has been diagnosed, is growing. Our campus wants to do anything it can to help people become more comfortable talking about mental health issues.”

Planners selected cyber bullying as a topic because of a number of high profile cases where young people have harmed themselves or committed suicide due to online bullying.

The millennial generation experiences friendships both online and in person, and take social media interactions seriously, said Downey, who has done research on this topic.

“When something happens online like a social rejection or an embarrassment, or a lie, that has real meaningful impact on them,” she said. “They expect others are going to take that very seriously. It is important that others outside of that generation see this is legitimate to them. Maybe it doesn’t make as much sense to us that someone would feel harmed by something that happened socially online, but it does to this generation.”

Future series topics may include bipolar disorder, depression, and others.

Community Howard Regional Health, which is part of the Community Health Network, is co-sponsoring the series.

For more information contact Downey at downeyca@iuk.edu

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 07/31/2015