Saturday September 10, 2016

Posting Secrets to Build Bridges

Last night, UD Speaker Series Event brought in Frank Warren.  He’s spoken around the country promoting mental health and sharing secrets he’s received from over half a million strangers.  It began when he distributed 3,000 post cards that said to write a secret and send it to his home, anonymously.  Over the course of ten years, he has accumulated over 250,000 post cards from strangers around the world.  He has spoken on college campuses, given a TED Talk and been on multiple talk shows being pronounced as ‘the most trusted stranger in the world.’

I was fortunate to hear from Frank Warren himself, an incredibly down to earth, strong, and relatable man.  With a crowd of about 200 college students, it was hard to beat the atmosphere and stories he shared with us. People have sent him secrets ranging from “I give decaf to rude Starbucks customers” to “She texted me ‘Are you okay’ and she’ll never know that saved my life.”  He spoke about the problems and struggles of mental health in today’s society.  However, he feels that sharing secrets has the power to build bridges and bring people closer together.

At the beginning, people who had posted on the site raised their hand.  Frank gave one of the girls his book.  At the end of the night, that same girl stood up and said she had been reading Post Secret for years.  When she had felt lonely, she would check the site to see how she could relate to others.  The site had “saved [her] life more than once.”  The air went still and the silence spread.  Other students continued to share secrets and Frank made his closing remarks.  As we walked out, those bridges formed brought students closer, building a stronger UD community.

If you or someone you knows fights the battle of a mental illness, please reach out to the University of Dayton’s Counseling Center for help.

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