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MTV True Life’s Ben Carpenter to discuss living with mental illness

3/14/2012 —

MTV True Life’s Ben Carpenter will visit Penn State Brandywine to talk with students about living with schizoaffective disorder and the drug abuse that brought on his initial symptoms on Thursday, March 29 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Main Building, room 101.

Instructor in Biology Amanda Gunlefinger, Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies Jennifer Zosh and Personal Counselor Ahyana King invited Carpenter to campus to increase awareness about the disorder, mental health issues in general and substance abuse.
Immediately following his talk, Carpenter will join attendees for lunch and questions in the Main Building, room 113 (student lounge). King will join the conversation to discuss campus resources available to students with concerns about mental health or substance abuse.

Carpenter appeared on MTV’s reality show “True Life – I Have Schizophrenia” to show the world what life is like with schizoaffective disorder, which, Gunlefinger said, causes symptoms similar to a combination of bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia.

She said Carpenter first noticed symptoms of his disorder during college at Philadelphia University; they were exacerbated by his drug use.

“It’s common in schizophrenic men between the ages of 18 and 22 to start noticing the symptoms of the disorder,” Gunlefinger said. “Drug abuse can exacerbate the physiological effects of the disorder. The more we know, the more we can understand each other.”

This event is open to the public and attendees are invited to ask Carpenter questions regarding his disorder. His mother and fiancé will also discuss the disorder and how it affects them.

-by Sean Chambers

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