Mental health and addiction have become an increasingly urgent crisis for our youth, and on Tuesday an acclaimed student wellbeing activist will be in Pensacola discussing ways families can help their children find and keep their “joy” in life.
David Magee created the The William Magee Institute for Student Wellbeing at The University of Mississippi after his son William died of an accidental drug overdose. He has traveled the country addressing students and parents about mental health and substance misuse challenges and solutions.
Magee will be speaking at the Brownsville Community Center, 3200 W. De Soto St., from 6-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday as part of CivicCon.
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His new book, “Things Have Changed: What Every Parent (and Educator) Should Know About the Student Mental Health and Substance Misuse Crisis,” is intended to provide a clear road map for navigating the many struggles modern students face such as anxiety, depression, addiction, eating disorders, loneliness and the pressures of social media.
“This is the most important issue facing our communities today, period,” Magee told the News Journal. “Because it touches every single family in some way or another, and there is a crisis. And we do have to think about it as a community, because that’s the only way it will get solved … the one thing we do know that works is education and community attention and conversation. We have to break the silos in the community and all come together to think about, ‘How do we do this?'”
In his book and at CivicCon, Magee will share research-backed insights on how to:
- Have meaningful conversations about mental health and drug and alcohol abuse
- Empower your child to ask for help when they need it
- Decide when and if treatment is needed
- Encourage your child to invest in healthy relationships
- Be intentional about social media and use interactions
- Foster your child’s desire to engage with your family
- Create and maintain healthy boundaries
- Advocate for your child’s wellbeing at school and with family
Few individuals, if any, have spoken in person since COVID to as many students about mental health and substance misuse as Magee, according to his website. He’s engaged with tens of thousands students, parents and educators throughout the country since 2021 with his educational and stigma-breaking message.
Magee and his children have struggled with the issues he discusses – one of his sons suffered a fatal drug overdose, another son suffered a near fatal overdose but is now in recovery, and his daughter struggled for years with an eating disorder. Magee covered his family’s struggles and success in his award-winning book “Dear William: A Father’s Memoir of Addiction, Recovery, Love and Loss.”
Previously, Magee was a daily newspaper publisher, a media company president, small business owner, a regular guest on CNBC and once hosted a national cable TV and radio program, “The David Magee Show.”
Registration for Magee’s free presentation is available by searching “CivicCon” at eventbrite.com. Questions for Magee can be submitted during the registration process or emailed to event moderator Lisa Nellessen Savage at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Magee’s presentation will also be livestreamed at pnj.com and the News Journal’s Facebook page.
CivicCon is a partnership with the News Journal to help empower citizens to better their communities through smart planning and civic conversation. More information about CivicCon, as well as stories and videos featuring previous speakers, is available at pnj.com/civiccon.