Listen Lucy helps teens understand mental health, one conversation at a time

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Jordan Corcoran will spend Mental Health Awareness Month Raising people’s awareness of mental health resources. At least she is a.

In 2013, after years of silently battling her own demons, the Glenshaw resident founded Listen Luciaan organization that fights against the stigma surrounding mental illness.

In May she will visit 15 schools, organizations and companies across the country to share her experiences. She believes that open conversations in a public forum will help other people open up about their own struggles.

To prepare for her whirlwind tour — her first in more than two years — she throws a listening party for a hometown crowd. On Thursday, April 14, from 6-8 p.m., the nationally recognized mental health speaker, author, podcaster and advocate will be speaking Alloy 26, located on Nova Place on the north side. Tickets, which include drinks and snacks, cost $15 and are Available online.

Corcoran was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder when she was a 19-year-old freshman at Mercyhurst College. But her troubles had started long before that.

As a student at North Hills High School, she suffered from frequent panic attacks, but refused to seek treatment because she was too embarrassed.

College went from bad to unbearable. Panic attacks were commonplace and one anxiety attack ended with her being carried out of her dorm room on a stretcher.

“I lived in chaos and refused to admit it,” she says. “At one point I decided I needed to go to therapy. It unlocked everything for me. Not only did I learn what was different about my brain, I also learned something about myself. I became an expert on my own disease.”

Listen Lucy books by Jordan Corcoran.

Through therapy, she learned to identify triggers and use coping techniques, such as writing, to ward off anxiety. Once she was able to calm her mind, she began to describe her experiences. She wrote a warts-and-all op-ed for the school newspaper, found acceptance, and changed the course of her life.

The organization Listen, Lucy (Lucy is Corcoran’s childhood nickname) uses talks, books, and workshops to break down barriers that stand between people and mental health treatment—whether those barriers are stigma, accessibility, or insurance. And she invites others to share their experiences anonymously to create a kinder, more understanding world.

As a mother of two children (2 and 6 years old) she enjoys talking to young children. And it easily relates to middle and high school students, college students, adults, and corporations in America. Despite her diagnosis, Corcoran feels confident in front of a crowd today.

It’s precious timing: your advice is needed now more than ever.

A new report from the CDC shows that one in three children in the US has a diagnosable mental illness. The pandemic has exacerbated many situations, but also made people pay attention and stand up for themselves and their families.

Corcoran, whose tour has been paused due to Covid-19, is now being inundated with requests to speak.

Jordan Corcoran speaks to local youth about mental health.

In addition to traveling, she is working on a sequel to her children’s book, Little Lucy and the Little Butterflies, about a young girl struggling with anxiety. Helping children understand that their emotions are general and valid is important to Corcoran, who sees herself in many of the frightened and vulnerable faces of the audiences she addresses.

Her message to her is clear: there is help and hope.

“Information is power,” says Corcoran. “This is an all-consuming, emotionally draining disease. Once I found acceptance, it freed so much of my being. I want people to find the same acceptance and realize that struggling with mental health is normal.”

Jordan Corcorankidsburgh Mental Health Awareness Month

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