Jordan Burnham, a survivor of a suicide attempt whose story on ESPN was nominated for an Emmy Award, will visit Elon University to talk with students about the stigma surrounding mental illness.
By Jeremy Recoon ’16
Jordan Burnham, a suicide attempt survivor, is now a motivational speaker for the nonprofit organization Active Minds. Through the support of several campus organizations, Burnham visits campus this month to share his story and discuss the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide amongst students and athletes.
‘Life After the Fall: A Talk with Jordan Burnham about Suicide’
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
McKinnon Hall in the Moseley Center
No tickets are required for a program that is free and open to the public. The talk will conclude with a Q&A where everyone is encouraged to ask questions to begin an important dialogue.
About 1,100 college students commit suicide every year. No family, college, race or religion is immune.
According to his Active Minds biography, Burnham tells the story of how he, as a high school student, seemed to have it all. A popular student athlete, he was elected freshman class president, received good grades and had a loving family. But the smiling happy face was a mask he wore to cover the anxiety and depression that lay beneath the surface—fear that he wasn’t good enough, difficulty with the transition into high school, pressure to excel academically as well as in sports.
Soon he was drinking and his grades were falling, and he was finally diagnosed with depression. A year later, he found himself in a treatment center, and not long after that, in a hospital bed, following his attempt to end his life by free-falling from his 9th floor bedroom window. Today, Burnham travels the country sharing his incredible story of survival, emphasizing that everyone should feel comfortable with seeking help because it’s not a sign of weakness and often leads to a successful recovery. He shares with audiences his ongoing physical and mental health recovery process, and encourages them to create healthier and more supportive communities.
Burnham is a nationally recognized mental health advocate who was one of the “2010 Best of Philly” and received the 2012 Emerging Humanitarian Award winner from the Asomugha Foundation. He has been featured in The Washington Post, Sports Illustrated, and USA Today, and he has appeared on ESPN’s E:60 and Outside the Lines, CNN, Dr. Phil, and Good Morning America. His interview with ESPN became an Emmy-nominated documentary, and he has spoken at the White House and before Congress.
Elon University senior Jeremy Recoon organized Burnham’s event as part of his senior capstone project as a sport & event management major. To date he has raised more than $5,000 toward the program.
The event is sponsored by SGA, Liberal Arts Forum, Active Minds, SPARKS & Health Promotion, the Historic, Danieley, Global, and Colonnades Neighborhood associations, Premier Sport & Event Society, Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity, Alpha Omicron Pi, Campus Rec and Women’s Club Lacrosse.