Students work to break the stigma around mental health

May 29, 2019

Nearly 450 million people worldwide live with a mental illness, but approximately two thirds of people with a known mental illness never seek treatment.

Two Penn State master of health administration (MHA) students are seeking to change that fact.

For their spring 2019 semester-long capstone project, MHA students Carly Frisby and Holly Frick worked with the Quell Foundation to help break the stigma around mental illness. 

Frisby and Frick worked with Penn State alumnus Kevin Lynch, president and CEO of the Quell Foundation, to help secure funding for production of a film focusing on first responder mental health issues. They researched a multitude of grant opportunities specifically related to behavioral health, first responders and film development. They have since begun the process of submitting applications for grants supporting the film.

“Through vivid storytelling, The Quell Foundation - in partnership with Carly Frisby and Holly Frick - seek to create a documentary to provide insight into the lives and experience of the first responder community, their families and lives they touch through their day-to-day activities,” said Lynch. “Many who are a part of the first responder community live with the vicarious trauma associated with the occupational hazards they endure on a daily basis.”

This will be the foundation’s second film discussing mental illness. The foundation’s first film, "Lift the Mask," tells the stories of six individuals living with behavioral and mental health diagnoses. 

“The most difficult aspect of developing this documentary is not identifying film subjects but securing necessary funding to produce the work. Both Carly and Holly have made this monumental task exponentially easier for the Quell Foundation,” said Lynch. “These two young adults took the lead in developing the executive summary and project definition. Through weekly meetings with myself, Carly and Holly have been able to develop a succinct vision statement, created key objectives and produced a plan for dissemination. This documentary has been pushed and carried forward by Carly and Holly on a timeline I could have only hoped for.”

While the foundation continues to work towards funds for production of this second film, Lynch continues to work on breaking the stigma around mental health. 

Since graduating in May,  Frick has begun working at KPMG as an advisory associate in their health care solutions practice in Manhattan, New York. Frisby will work as a compliance and risk associate at KPMG in Short Hills, New Jersey.

About the Quell Foundation

The Quell Foundation is a nonprofit organization with a mission to end the stigma around mental health by creating open, judgment-free conversations. Kevin Lynch, president and CEO, and a Penn State alumnus has struggled with mental health issues. He created the foundation while working on his capstone project with the master of health administration program through World Campus. 

In 2018, The Quell Foundation – as part of the Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence Campaign and the First-time Donor Matching Program – established a $125,000 endowed scholarship known as The Quell Foundation Bridge the Gap Undergraduate Scholarship at Penn State. The Quell Foundation has awarded 19 scholarships totaling $20,000 to students attending Penn State for academic years 2017 through 2020. The scholarship is given to undergraduate students majoring or planning to major in human development and family studies in the College of Health and Human Development who plan to pursue a career in the field of study relation to the provision of mental health services. 

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated May 29, 2019