Thanksgiving Back 2013-2014 - Decoding the Duck Syndrome: Creative Approaches to Adolescent Mental Health

Basic Information
Application Process: 
ThanksGiving Back 2013-2014
Trip Name: 
Decoding the Duck Syndrome: Creative Approaches to Adolescent Mental Health
Trip Location: 
Bay Area, CA
Air Travel Trip: 
Number of Participants: 
Trip Description: 

“Some seek the comfort of their therapist's office, other head to the corner pub and dive into a pint, but I chose running as my therapy.” - Dean Karnazes

The Duck Syndrome--floating serenely on the water while frantically paddling beneath the surface--often comes up when discussing the stress of being a student at Stanford. However, mental health issues are present in the lives of adolescents everywhere, whether in elite universities or underprivileged communities. We want to break open the conversation surrounding the Duck Syndrome by exploring creative arts therapy and other non-traditional approaches. During the workshops, we will examine the institutional influences on how society frames the adolescent struggle with mental health. On the trip, we will visit local community partners who specialize in anything from music to individualized alternative education. This trip is an opportunity for students to discuss a heavily stigmatized subject and support their peers through initiatives beyond the traditional framework of adolescent mental health. We hope to give participants a basic understanding of sociological influences on adolescent mental health, strategies on navigating the difficult conversations surrounding this topic, and exposure to creative therapies. No prior knowledge or experience necessary (other than 4 years of Mandarin or advanced training in designing LEED Platinum buildings).

Trip Leaders
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Audrey Ho

Audrey is a junior majoring in Computer Science. She received her first ‘rubbie duckie’ at four years old for a ballet recital. In many ways, that duck has never left, as she imagines is the case with many Stanford students. In her experience, mental health therapy is all too often focused on medication; however, in reality, health can be nurtured through a variety of channels from sports to food to the arts. Audrey's own little joys in life include dance, board games, and serenading her shower curtain.

Patrick McGuire

Patrick is a senior majoring in French and minoring in Russian. He is a Live-in Counselor and Course Coordinator for The Bridge Peer Counseling Center and coordinates mental health panels with Stanford Peace of Mind. This past summer, he went to China to help set up a peer counseling program at a university in Beijing. He grew up around the world and enjoys traveling, cooking, and translating poetry.