Beckers bringing family’s story, mental health advocacy to Iowa State

AMES, Iowa – Joan and Dave Becker are bringing their family’s story and advocacy for individuals with mental illnesses to Iowa State University this month. 

Joan Becker book

In 2009, the Beckers’ son, Mark, was finally diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia three days before the unthinkable happened in Parkersburg. He killed his former high school football coach, Ed Thomas. Joan and Dave had spent years trying to get Mark the mental health services he desperately needed.

“Mental Illness, Tragedy and Transformation: The Mark Becker Story” will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25, in the Memorial Union Great Hall. This lecture is free and open to the public.

The Beckers hope their message will help other families, caregivers and professionals understand how they can make a difference in moving forward and improving our mental health system. This lecture is part of National Recovery Month, held every September to educate about mental health services and substance use treatment.

The Story County Mental Health Resource Fair will precede the lecture in the Memorial Union South Ballroom.

Joan Becker’s book, “Sentenced to Life,” shares how her family’s experience served as the catalyst to her becoming an advocate and public speaker for people with mental illnesses.

Representatives from ISU Police Department and Student Health and Wellness will be available to share information on campus resources during the closing Q&A discussion.

This lecture is co-sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs, National Alliance on Mental Illness on Campus, Story County Mental Health Expo, Student Counseling Services and the Committee on Lectures, which is funded by Student Government.

Find more information about ISU lectures online or by calling 515-294-9934.