Alexandria, VA—Mental Health America (MHA) announced today that Sue Klebold will speak at MHA’s 2016 Annual Conference this June. Sue Klebold is the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the two shooters at Columbine High School in 1999 who killed thirteen people before ending their own lives.
"After remaining silent for almost 20 years, Sue Klebold is speaking out,” said Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO, MHA. “Her message is a powerful one—that while she can’t erase what Dylan did, she can talk openly about the importance of early identification and intervention of mental health concerns—before Stage 4—so that we can hopefully prevent crises and tragedies, not just respond and react to them after it's too late.”
Sue Klebold broke her silence last month with the release of the book, A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy, and has given limited interviews since then. She has spent the last 15 years excavating every detail of her family life, trying to understand the crucial intersection between her son Dylan’s mental health problems and his violent behavior at the end of his life. Instead of becoming paralyzed by her grief and remorse, she has become a passionate and effective agent working tirelessly to advance mental health awareness and intervention.
“MHA believes that we must bring mental health concerns into the open, that we must address them proactively, and that we cannot ignore the mental health needs of our children and hope they will go away on their own,” concluded Gionfriddo. “Out of her own nightmare and the nightmare of so many Columbine families, Sue is now talking in the hopes to make a difference, and MHA is looking forward to hearing more from her in June.”
MHA's 2016 Annual Conference held June 8-10 with the theme Media, Messaging and Mental Health at the Hilton Mark Center in Alexandria, Virginia. The conference will take an in-depth look at the impact and influence of media and the entertainment industry on the complex issues of mental health and mental illness, and explore how messaging and language can contribute to and perpetuate the destructive stigma and discrimination of people with mental illnesses.