Mental health advocate Mike Veny to speak at Vincennes University

Mental health advocate Mike Veny to speak at Vincennes University

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February 03, 2020

February 3, 2020 / Mental health advocate Mike Veny to speak at Vincennes University

Mike Veny photo

VINCENNES, Ind. – Professional speaker, author, and drummer Mike Veny will share his inspiring testimony of how he turned his mental health challenges into assets at 11 a.m. EST on Tuesday, Feb. 11 at the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center on the Vincennes University campus.

Veny will present “Transforming Stigma: How to Become A Mental Wellness Superhero”. This free program is open to the public.

“The Vincennes University Counseling Center is thrilled to welcome Mike Veny to our campus and the Vincennes community,” said VU Director of Counseling Services Jennifer Andrews. “Mike has a wonderful message to share and this is a great opportunity for our students to be informed of how to persevere through any obstacle they may face in their personal life and be successful.”

Veny has delivered a TedX talk and has been featured on national television.

“Mike is an example of someone who takes his mental health challenges and turns them into opportunities for strength, growth and leadership,” said VU licensed clinical social worker Kathy Evans. “We hope people will take the time to hear his inspirational story.”

The Red Skelton Performing Arts Center is located at 20 W. Red Skelton Blvd.

About Mike Veny

Mental health speaker and best-selling author Mike Veny delivers engaging presentations with raw energy and a fresh perspective on diversity and inclusion. He shares how he went from struggling with mental health challenges to being a thought leader that travels the globe telling his story to help transform stigma.

He is a highly sought-after keynote speaker, corporate drumming event facilitator, author, and luggage enthusiast.

Mike is the author of the book “Transforming Stigma: How to Become a Mental Wellness Superhero” and “The Transforming Stigma Workbook”. As a 2017 PM360 ELITE Award Winner, he is recognized as one of the 100 most influential people in the healthcare industry for his work as a patient advocate.

Mike’s path to becoming a public speaker became evident at an early age. He convinced the staff at psychiatric hospitals to discharge him three times during his childhood. In addition to being hospitalized as a child, he was expelled from three schools, attempted suicide, and was medicated in efforts to reduce his emotional instability and behavioral outbursts.

By the fifth grade, Mike was put in a special education class. Aside from getting more individualized attention from the teacher, he learned that pencil erasers make great sounds when tapped on a desk. He had no idea that drumming would become his career or his path to recovery.

As an adult, Mike spent many years facilitating drum workshops for children with special needs, teaching them to channel their energy by banging a drum and at the same time learning how to listen, focus, work together and succeed through teamwork. The project was such a hit that he continued to expand his drumming program, first to adults in recovery and eventually into the corporate setting.

Diversity and Inclusion have been an important part of Mike’s life since childhood. He attended schools where students came from all different kinds of backgrounds—ethnic, religious, and economical. This inspired him to build his company team from a diverse group of people. Embracing Diversity & Inclusion sets a team up to deliver better results, which is a message that he loves to share.

Mike’s perspectives have been featured on ABC, NBC, and CBS News. He was a former guest on The Fresh Outlook TV news show, a writer for Corporate Wellness Magazine and,Mental Illness is An Asset, his compelling TEDx talk, has been used in college classrooms and gotten sensational reviews. He was a keynote speaker at the 2014 YAI Network’s International Conference on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and regularly works with chapters of the Arc, the largest national community-based organization advocating for and with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.


Jennifer Andrews, LCSW, LAC

Director, Counseling Services

Vincennes University

Office: 812-888-4374


Kathy Evans, LCSW

Counseling Center

Vincennes University

Office: 812-888-4374


VINCENNES UNIVERSITY - Indiana’s First College

VU is state-supported with campuses in Vincennes and Jasper, the Aviation Technology Center and American Sign Language program in Indianapolis, Early College Career and Technical Education Centers, and additional sites such as the Gene Haas Training and Education Center in Lebanon, the Logistics Training and Education Center in Plainfield, and the Gibson County Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics in Fort Branch. A leader in developing Early Colleges statewide, VU also offers instruction at military sites throughout the nation.

In addition to offering a wide range of associate degree and certificate programs, VU also offers bachelor’s degree programs in technology, homeland security, nursing, secondary education programs in mathematics and science, and special education/elementary education.

VU enrolls students from throughout Indiana, 36 other states, and 21 other countries. Tuition and fees are the lowest among Indiana campuses with residence halls. VU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Founded in 1801, VU is Indiana’s first college and is the only college in the nation founded by an individual who would later become President of the United States. William Henry Harrison, the ninth U.S. President, founded VU while serving as governor of the Indiana Territory. More information is available at


Vincennes University Newsroom

MARCIA MARTINEZ, University Life Reporter & Sports Information Director
   812-888-4164 office, 314-599-1519 cell,,
VINCENNES UNIVERSITY, Department of University Relations,