Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

‘13 Reasons Why’ star talks mental health at UWO

Mattie Beck / Advance-Titan – Actor Christian Navarro shares his mental health journey and different ways he was able to care for himself to students.

Last Thursday, UW Oshkosh hosted an event titled “13 Reasons Why Mental Health Matters” with Christian Navarro.

Navarro is an actor from the popular Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” which aired from 2017 to 2020.

The show had themes of mental health in high school students and focused on different characters and their mental struggles. 

Navarro’s character, Tony Padilla, was a gay Latino teen whose mental health and struggles were also portrayed in relation to his different characteristics. 

At the event, Navarro spoke about his own mental health on the show and during times such as the pandemic.

This Speaker Series was put together by students and staff.

Brynn Simpson was one of the students who helped plan and promote the event, along with the Fraternity and Sorority Life adviser Angie Zemke.

“It definitely was a lot of details that needed to get planned,” Simpson said. “I worked with Angie, who helped with his contract and getting his travel and hotel stuff figured out.”

Simpson decided she wanted to invite Navarro to come speak to the student body.

“I decided on Christian Navarro because I wanted to have a talk about mental health,” she said. “I thought it is going to be so much more empowering and beneficial to hear (about mental health) from someone (students) know from the media and (who they) have actively seen his work and know his face.”

Simpson said she enjoyed what Navarro had to say to the students who attended the event. 

“He wanted to give others tools and resources that he didn’t have during his time and validate their feelings and what they were going through telling them that they are not alone,” she said.

During the event, Navarro shared his stories to make an impact on the student body.

“He cares so much about mental health, having gone through difficult mental health struggles himself, and helping other people is something he was so passionate about,” Simpson said.

Navarro also had a meet and greet with students after the event where he took photos, spoke with them and answered questions.

“During the meet and greet there were even more people that were sharing their stories and telling him how they have struggled and each time he responded to them as an individual,” Simpson said. 

Simpson said Navarro had an impact on the students who were able to meet him.

“There were many people who walked away from that experience holding their heads higher knowing that someone they admired and was a major social influence was on their side and was rooting for them,” she said. 

As for herself, Simpson said the event made all the planning worthwhile. 

“It was so fulfilling watching everything come together and watching him interact with questions that students had, as well as validating experiences that they shared,” she said.

Before the event took place, Simpson and a few other students were able to have dinner with Navarro. 

“(He) is one of the kindest human beings I have ever met,” she said. “He had dinner prior to the event, and he was so empowering, telling us all that we were doing something beneficial.”

When meeting students, Navarro had a positive outlook. 

“He said that he has so much hope for the future because we are the ones who are making the changes he wished to see when he was our age,” Simpson said. “He truly cares about each person he meets and hears their story.”

Simpson said the experience is one she will take with her after college.

“Meeting him was an experience that I will keep with me for the rest of my life,” she said. “I truly believe that he is an amazing person. He made a difference for so many people who were at the event because he surely helped me.”

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