Finding Hope


Actress Mariel Hemingway to speak in Nampa at free Optum event about mental health

The discussion will be centered around how physical and mental health are linked
Posted at 1:34 PM, Jun 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-26 15:34:41-04

NAMPA, Idaho — Actress, writer, and mental health advocate, Mariel Hemingway, granddaughter of American novelist Ernest Hemingway, calls Idaho home. Growing up in Ketchum, she says Idaho's beauty is where she sees her own spirituality, and it keeps her coming back to the Gem State.

“Having grown up in Idaho, God, to me, is the amazing mountains that we live in and the nature that surrounds us," Hemingway told Idaho News 6.

The Hemingway family has a serious history of mental illness. Ernest, as well as multiple other members of the family, have passed away due to suicide.

On Tuesday, Optum Idaho is hosting a free Community Conversation featuring Hemingway as the guest speaker. The topic is how mental health and physical health are linked together.

Optum also hopes this event will help to show people they aren't alone in their mental health battles.

“I do believe that normalization of that experience of  ‘I’m having mental issues, what do I do now?' that sort of normalization really assists people in reaching out for themselves," Ph.D. Dennis Woody, a pediatric psychologist with Optum Idaho, told Idaho News 6.

Related | Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline announces new name, mission remains the same

Mariel, herself, has also dealt with mental health issues, saying she struggled with a sense of isolation, something she found is common with a lot of people.

“That feeling of isolation, and alone-ness, is something I think so many of us can relate to, but we don’t know where to go and we don’t have people to talk to," Hemingway said.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 20% of adults in the U.S. experience mental illness each year, and over 300,000 Idahoans have some type of mental health condition.

Hemingway says while she's the speaker of the event, it's not about her. That it's about everyone coming together and sharing their own stories of their mental health journey.

“I’m gonna share my story so people say ‘Oh wow, if somebody like her has a story, [who] comes from this, that will open the door for me to be able to share mine,'" said Hemingway.

The free event starts at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, June 27. For more information, visit the Optum Idaho website.