‘Hoop Dreams’ filmmaker in Fort Collins to speak about mental wellness Aug. 29

Frederick Marx
The event features Oscar-nominated filmmaker Frederick Marx of “Hoop Dreams” and “The Veterans’ Project.”

About 30% of college students say that anxiety negatively affects academic performance, while 1 in 5 reported having been diagnosed with depression by a healthcare professional. Meanwhile, an average of 20 veterans die by suicide in the U.S. daily, as those who served in the military are 15 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and five times more likely to experience depression. 

That’s why Colorado State University will offer an Aug. 29 symposium focused on a silent pandemic ravaging young people in college and the military: mental health struggles in challenging times. The event precedes a separate DARPA Forward conference the next day at the Lory Student Center.  

The “Collaborations in Mental Wellness” symposium features documentary filmmaker Frederick Marx (“Hoop Dreams,” “Veterans Journey Home”); Joe Conrad, founder and CEO of Grit Digital Health in Denver; CSU professors; and Department of Defense officials. Companies will demonstrate the latest VR technology applicable to psychology.  

“Those who serve in the military are experiencing a silent pandemic in mental health issues and we need to focus on actions that build mental resilience to improve their abilities later in life,” said Alan Rudolph, vice president for research and a former DARPA program manager. “We are hosting this important satellite meeting on mental wellness before the DARPA Forward conference to explore how science, cinema and new technology can help people thrive given the challenges of their times.” 

CSU is one of the top schools in the country for veterans, according to the Military Times. 

The “Collaborations in Mental Wellness” symposium begins at 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 29 at Hilton Fort Collins. It concludes with virtual reality demonstrations by HP Inc., Tripp Co. and CSU. 

The event is hosted by the Office of the Vice President for Research and admission is free to the public. Click here for program and registration information. 

The next day, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) brings its DARPA Forward conference series to CSU’s Lory Student Center. It’s the first of six such conferences across the country. It begins at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30, and continues into Wednesday, Aug. 31. 

The event seeks to connect DARPA leaders with new communities of talent and partnerships. The goal: energize regional research and business, fuel breakthroughs in national security, and help deliver the U.S. technological advantage. Colorado was selected due to its burgeoning technology innovation ecosystem from Fort Collins to Denver to Colorado Springs. 

DARPA Forward participants will hear from world-renowned scientists, accomplished innovators, and senior defense leaders. Among the topics are the future of autonomous vehicles, microbial movements in the airborne ecosystem, cybersecurity threats to society and how to produce food in space.