A Helpful Panel Topic

So many large comic convention panels fall into the promotion bucket. A publisher wants to talk about their new and upcoming releases, or a show wants to provide a way for lots of people to hear from a hot creator at one time. Nothing wrong with those items, but I’m intrigued by panels that assemble several diverse people to talk about more creative topics.

One example is coming up at this weekend’s Baltimore Comic-Con. On Saturday at 4:00 is scheduled “Creativity & Mental Health – A Roundtable Discussion”.

Moderated by John Gallagher (Buzzboy), who sent out a press release to draw more attention to the significant topic, the panel features Laura Lee Gulledge (Page by Paige), Jimmy Gownley (Amelia Rules), and Jamar Nicholas (Leon: Protector of the Playground). Here’s the description:

Along with the thrill and excitement of being creative, it can sometimes go hand-in-hand with depression, anxiety, learning differences, and more. [These creators] shine a light on mental health, crisis management, and joining together as an industry to encourage each other get the resources they need for a happier life. Please note: This is an open discussion on mental health, and may include topics of a delicate nature.

Gallagher made this additional information available:

Each creator will discuss their personal experiences, as well as topics like coping mechanisms, support networks, and reaching out for professional help. “Like diabetes, cancer, or any other disease, depression is not something to hide, or be ashamed of,” says Gallagher, who has been treated the last twenty years for chronic depression, “and we wanted to get the conversation out in the open, hopefully to help guide creators, fans, and friends out of their dark places.”

Gallagher does point out that he and the speakers are not therapists, but rather, creators who have worked in the trenches of the comics world, while dealing with issues of mental health. And while the panel will only be one hour, Gallagher hopes the discussion will continue, and grow. As Gallagher stated, “Being diagnosed and treated for depression lifted me up beyond my illness, and allowed me to create comics that make me others happy.” Gallagher added, “Hopefully, this talk will hep folks not feel so alone, and reach out for help, personally and professionally.”

Please note: No licensed therapist will be on hand, and the moderator and speaker are not mental health professionals. Handouts will be provided to help guide those looking for mental health resources.

There’s a tough balance between talking about personal experiences, giving advice, and not promising too much when dealing with mental health. I think this description does a good job trying to balance those efforts, and it’s a fascinating topic of interest. I hope the panel goes well.

Art by John Gallagher, Laura Lee Gulledge, Jamar Nicholas, and Jimmy Gownley

Art by John Gallagher, Laura Lee Gulledge, Jamar Nicholas, and Jimmy Gownley

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