Ashley Judd talks about dealing with mental health by advocating for others ahead of Elon’s visit

Judd will deliver the Fall Convocation Address on Friday, September 30, and will offer her perspective on the fight against mental health and as an advocate for the underrepresented prior to her lecture.

Actress and activist Ashley Judd will speak at Fall Convocation as part of the 2022-23 Elon University Speaker Series on Friday, September 30 at 3:30 pm in the Schar Center.

Judd has appeared in many feature films, including Where the Heart Is, Simon Birch, and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, and was also named to TIME’s 2017 Person of the Year list. as one of the silence breakers and change makers who helped change the culture and conversation around sexual assault and harassment.

The theme of the university speaker series is Living Well in a Changing World, and Judd’s remarks will focus on Mental Health: What We Don’t Transform in Ourselves, We Will Transfer to Others.

Ahead of her visit, the Elon University News Bureau reached out to Judd for her thoughts on a variety of issues.

Your paper is entitled “Mental Health: What We Don’t Transform in Ourselves, We Will Transfer to Others”. What can you share about what you will discuss during your visit to Elon?

I hope to share how I experience health and wellness in concentric circles. First, I must be connected to a power greater than myself, as I understand and define that power. Next, I need to be connected to myself. Finally, I need to be connected to others. The journey is from hurt, to healing, to help, in that order. We mix it up so often.

What do you hope people take away from your talk at Elon?

This self-care is not selfish, it is self-respect. It’s good to take care of ourselves because we can’t pass on what we don’t have. We must learn to give to others and society out of our abundance, not out of depletion and exhaustion. And another person’s disease or dysfunction: the three Cs – We didn’t do it reason it. We can’t ccontrol it. We can not cure it. However, we can contribute by focusing on ourselves and changing our own attitudes.

What advice do you have for students struggling with mental health challenges? How can they ask for help and how can others support them?

It’s okay to struggle. I’ve been there too. Reaching out for help is actually an indication of health and strength, a spark of resilience. Check out the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) website and check out a 12-step program for support. Learn about grief.

For those who support someone, the suggestions are the same — find your own support to know how to support instead of enable.

You are an outspoken advocate who is passionate about a number of issues. What does it mean for you to use your platform to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves on the issues of mental illness, poverty, gender inequality and social justice?

It means so much to my soul to be connected to my fellow humans, to be entrusted with sacred stories and truths, and to share them in communities. My sense of belonging and purpose fills my cup.

How has your work in the entertainment industry prepared you to be a stronger advocate for others?

Seeing my female peers making far less money than men, being underrepresented on screen, having less dialogue or having that dialogue at all about men and relationships, hearing male dialogue being rude and objectifying to women and seeing women so marginalized and scarce on teams and the power gap between men and women in studios and agencies taught me that courage is needed everywhere.

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