YMCA Hears from Two Advocates on the Importance of Addressing Mental Health and Depression

NH Kid Governor, Charlie Olsen, and former Chief Justice John T Broderick Jr. gave stats and tips on addressing Mental Health

Youth Mental Health, Mental Health, Depression

New Hampshire Kid Governor Charlie Olsen and former Chief Justice John T. Broderick Jr.


Last week the YMCA of Greater Nashua’s staff team had the pleasure of hearing from New Hampshire Kid Governor Charlie Olsen and former Chief Justice John T. Broderick Jr., on the topic of Mental Health, specially addressing adult and childhood depression. Charlie Olsen, from Auburn, NH, is a student at Auburn Village School.

According to Charlie Olsen, “Kid Governor is a civics education program that gives kids like me a voice to make a difference… I am honored to represent the children of this state. I am so excited to be the NH Kid Governor, but the reason I ran is because I want to help kids who may be suffering from depression. I am so fortunate to have this opportunity to speak up and help kids that are struggling with depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses.” He started this journey by sharing a personal narrative he wrote in his language arts class. He wrote about the stigma of mental health and his experience with during March of last year when he was isolated during the pandemic, and was feeling lonely and fearful. He shared that his doctor diagnosed him with situational depression. Charlie received the help he needed from his family, his doctor, and therapist. “I have been spending my time as Kid Governor spreading the word and trying to eliminate the stigma associated with mental health struggles.”

When you meet Judge Broderick for the first time, what you will hear first and foremost is: “I’m on a mission to change the conversation about mental illness.” In 2017, Judge Broderick joined the Dartmouth-Hitchcock team as Senior Director for Public Affairs. Broderick has long been a prominent and effective advocate on issues of vital importance to the people of the State of New Hampshire, and much of his efforts in this role is tied to his advocating for Campaign to Change Direction New Hampshire, the first statewide effort to advance a national initiative to change the culture of mental health.

Over the last 3½ years, John Broderick has spoken to more than 100,000 high school and college students, business leaders and their employees, senior citizens, and veterans, sharing his family’s experience with the devastating impacts of mental illness. He has driven more than 90,000 miles—crisscrossing New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts—on a mission to improve understanding and awareness of mental illness, to eliminate its stigma, and to encourage discussion.

“This is the most important and meaningful work of my career,” says the former Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court.


Learn more about Judge Broderick’s story here: https://www.wbur.org/news/2018/05/07/john-broderick-mental-health

Among the resources shared by Kid Governor Olson in regard to mental health/depression is: https://www.reach1teach1love1.org and https://chooselovemovement.org/resource-center.


Thank you to our Human Resources team for bringing these speakers to us. “We strive to provide our staff with tools and resources to best equip them in all areas of well-being.  So many are struggling today with mental wellness and we want to be able to both recognize the signs and then assist anyone in our Y family who is having trouble said June Zoia, Chief Human Resources Officer.”  On behalf of the YMCA of Greater Nashua, we want to say thank you to Kid Governor Charlie Olsen and Judge Broderick for the candid and impactful conversations that are so important for all of us.  We walked away both enlightened and inspired. 


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