A renowned speaker and humanitarian will speak at a free event open to the community for the third “Mental Health Matters” Day at Texas A&M University-Commerce.
Alex Sheen is the founder of “Because I Said I Would,” a non-profit organization that is “dedicated to the betterment of humanity through promises made and kept,” according to the organization’s website. Founded following the death of Sheen’s father in 2012, the organization champions the importance of commitment. It has given out more than 11 million “promise cards” at no cost, simple reminders to write down the promises one makes in order to better keep them.
Sheen has made and kept several major promises since founding the organization. His website touts that he fulfilled a promise to three Cleveland women who were held captive for 10 years to walk 245 miles across the state of Ohio in less than 10 days to raise awareness. He is also touted as having personally delivered 100 tickets to Disneyland to children with cancer.
Sheen has also appeared to speak at a “TED Talk,” which are appearances for the Technology, Entertainment and Design Conference that have become popular in the last decade online.
Dr. Nick Patras, director of the Counseling Center at A&M-Commerce, said that the decision to have Sheen speak at the university indicated a change in the philosophy of the Mental Health Matters Day.
“Previous speakers have honed in on mental illness and suicide,” Patras said. “But we are transitioning now to a theme of mental well-being. We felt like Sheen was the right kind of person for this.”
Patras said that the ultimate goal is to destigmatize mental illness and have it be treated like any other disease.
Sheen will speak at the Ferguson Auditorium on Sept. 18 at 11 a.m. The event is free and open to the general public. A meet and greet with Sheen will take place after the speaking engagement.