Kevin Breel is a comedian, writer and mental health activist. He spoke at the Aug. 5 S.H.Y.A.A. event. (Photo submitted)
Kevin Breel is a comedian, writer and mental health activist. He spoke at the Aug. 5 S.H.Y.A.A. event. (Photo submitted)
BY KRISTI FISH

DHI Media Staff Writer

news@delphosherald.com

DELPHOS — S.H.Y. Double A hosted its first annual Keep the Conversation Going event Aug. 5 with special guest Kevin Breel.

Breel is a mental health activist, known for his Ted Talk “Confessions of a Depressed Comic,” which garnered more than 4 million views.

“Kevin has spoken at Harvard, Yale, and Fortune 500 companies,” S.H.Y.A.A. Founder Zach Ricker said.

Breel is a writer, comedian, and activist from Toronto who regularly gives speeches on mental health. He is quite well-known in the community and Ricker says he is unlike anyone who has ever come to Delphos.

“We’re actually going through an agency, not him,” Ricker said. “He’s well known, not someone who typically comes to a small town and he’s a must see.”

Ricker hoped Breel was able to bring in a new voice to the community that hasn’t been heard here before.

“We’re bringing in someone else that can talk about mental health to the community,” he said. “We wanted another perspective so he can talk about his experience.”

This is the first event of its kind for S.H.Y.A.A., but it will not be the last according to Ricker.

“Each year we want to bring someone new in to keep the mental health conversation going, so people actually get the help they need and ask for it,” he said.

Ricker hoped this event would help others connect with each other and be more willing to both help and be helped, focusing specifically on the younger crowd.

“The biggest thing is, we really want students to be there,” he said. “Obviously, we want all ages, but with what we went through a couple years ago, we want to help with the younger group.”

S.H.Y.A.A. goal was to show those in need of help that coming forward does not have to be a big deal and that asking for help can be normalized.

“(Asking for help) might be the toughest thing you’ll ever do, but, in the end, it’s also the best thing,” Ricker said.

S.H.Y.A.A. hosted its first event last year where Ricker was able to talk with school officials and start the conversation on mental health in the area. However, this year they invited everyone to purchase tickets for the event which was hosted at Delphos Jefferson’s Middle School Auditorium at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 5. Tickets were $8 and could be purchased on the website shydoublea.com under the “Events” tab, by email at shydoublea@gmail.com, via the organization’s Facebook page Shy Double A, or by contacting Zach Ricker at 419-204-9136.

Students in sixth through 12th grade at Delphos Jefferson or St. John’s could attend the event for free thanks to the Matt Ulrich Foundation. Students interested in attending the event had to reserve their tickets through Ricker as these seats were reserved ahead of time.

People interested in helping out S.H.Y.A.A. and not just attending the event can fill out a volunteer form on the website under the “Get Involved” tab.

“We want to build a list of volunteers so we can send out when we need help,” Ricker said.

However, anyone interested in helping out immediately can do so by joining the conversation and keeping it going.

“The main goal is bringing more awareness to mental health,” Ricker said.