Experts from technology, entertainment, and academia to address
mental health for National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) is bringing attention to mental health and the role technology has in raising awareness and providing tools to professionals and those seeking help alike.
ATDC is hosting an interactive panel discussion as part of former music industry veteran Shanti Das’ national mental health movement, Silence The Shame.
Sponsored by Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises, Silence The Shame brings together a panel of industry experts from the entertainment, professional sports, technology, academia, and science backgrounds to address the negative stigma associated with mental health, said Kirk Barnes, ATDC’s health technology catalyst and panel moderator.
The event, which coincides with National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, will be held at the Garage at Tech Square on September 12, from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (The event is free and open to all, but attendees are asked to register here.)
Panelists include Das; Amber D. Barnes, founder of Motivate to Elevate, a health and wellness company; Yared Alemu, founder of TQ Intelligence, a mental health technology startup in ATDC’s portfolio; and Kirk Barnes.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But it ranks as the second leading cause of death among those who are between 10 and 34 years old, CDC data show.
For Das, an Atlanta native and music industry executive who has worked with a wide range of acts including OutKast, Usher, and TLC, mental health is a deeply personal issue for her.
“My father committed suicide when I was seven months old and my best friend took her own life four years ago,” said Das, who launched the Silence The Shame initiative as part of her Hip-Hop Professional Foundation. “No one is immune to having a mental health struggle, or the situations that can trigger those issues, whether it’s divorce, or the death of a loved one, racism, or the PTSD of a mass shooting.
“We need to talk about mental health more and as we do so, we’ll begin to the end the stigma and normalize those discussions around our mental health and self-care, and silence that shame many of us have in discussing mental health.”
Barnes said the interactive panel discussion and Q&A will be forum for the exchange of ideas and sharing of tools and techniques to help attendees find ways to improve their emotional, psychological, physical, and social well-being.
“Having unique perspectives from people in multiple industries can help shed light on what mental health is and help people find real-world solutions regarding mental health,” Barnes said.
“Historically, there hasn’t been a lot of innovation in mental health in the technology space because it’s a subjective and personal subject. But now, we’re finding you can use technology to help give access to mental health professionals and the resources and tools they use for mental wellness and well-being.”
About Silence The Shame
Established by music industry veteran Shanti Das, Silence The Shame is an initiative designed to help remove the shame and stigma related to mental health. Silence The Shame, which aims to educate and provide resources for treatment, support, and care, is part of the Hip-Hop Professional Foundation, whose goal is to empower and enrich the lives of those in underserved communities around youth empowerment, mental health, and poverty. To learn more, please visit silencetheshame.com.
About the Advanced Technology Development Center
The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), a program of the Georgia Institute of Technology, is the State of Georgia’s technology startup incubator. Founded in 1980 by the Georgia General Assembly which funds it each year, ATDC’s mission is to work with entrepreneurs in Georgia to help them learn, launch, scale, and succeed in the creation of viable, disruptive technology companies. Since its founding, ATDC has grown to become one of the longest running and most successful university-affiliated incubators in the United States, with its graduate startup companies raising more than $2 billion in investment financing and generating more than $12 billion in revenue in the State of Georgia. To learn more, visit atdc.org.