Sean Astin, known for his roles in “Stranger Things,” “The Goonies” and “The Lord of the Rings” franchise, will be coming to campus on Thursday, Oct. 6 to talk about mental health.
Astin transitioned from acting to mental health advocacy to carry on his mother Anna Marie “Patty” Duke’s legacy. Astin will be speaking in Williams Auditorium about how the mental health conversation has evolved since his mother’s diagnosis of bipolar disorder in the 1980s, and how to continue destigmatising the topic.
“When my mother was diagnosed in the ’80s, her fear was that she would be put in a straitjacket or a padded room or have electric shock therapy,” Astin said at a previous college seminar. “It’s a lot better now. There’s a CVS on every corner where you can pick up the medication you need.”
Psychology professor Dr. Connie Meinholdt explained the possible impact of having a celebrity talk about their personal experience with mental health issues.
“[Astin] is having a successful life, he’s doing things, but he’s also wrestling with these issues,” Meinholdt said. “I think that helps sort of normalize it. This is not a unique or weird problem that makes you dysfunctional. It just makes life a little harder, and sometimes you need some breaks to deal with your issues.”
Music and entertainment business junior Kaitlyn Walters is the president of Entertainment Unlimited. EU is a registered student organization that books talent and organizes campus events for students. She explained the process that goes into planning an event like this one. EU informs their middle agent when they would like to book a campus speaker. When the middle agent sends back a list of names within the RSO’s budget, members of EU research and decide together who to bring to Ferris.
“Everybody knew who Sean Astin was, of course,” Walters said. “We all thought he would be a fun person to bring to campus, and we’ve been trying to get bigger and bigger acts to come because that’s really what brings people out.”
Music and entertainment business junior Alexis Stump is a runner for EU. Her duties include helping with the booking process and making sure that everything runs smoothly the day of the event. Stump detailed the booking process for talent like Astin.
“We had to book him a hotel, and then we were going to find him a driver, but… he decided to drive himself,” Stump said. “So we rented a car for him, and… he’s just going to drive up the day up the day of, and that’s like the main process that’s more of a runner position.”
The event will be happening tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the Williams Auditorium. The event is open to the public and is free for anyone who would like to attend and receive information about mental health awareness.