Active Minds Speaker
Meg Hutchinson is a Boston-based singer-songwriter, poet, interfaith hospital chaplain, and recording artist on Red House Records. At 19, she began struggling with the deep depressions that accompanied the onset of Bipolar I Disorder but waited nearly a decade to seek treatment. After becoming suicidal and being hospitalized several times in 2006, Meg took control of her treatment and now tells her story of recovery through art, spiritual practice, and education. She has been recognized for her dedication to mental health advocacy with awards from Johns Hopkins and NAMI.
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A graduate of Bard College at Simon’s Rock with a degree in Liberal Arts, Meg went on to complete a Master of Divinity degree at Boston University’s School of Theology in 2018. She completed her clinical residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, with a special interest in family systems theory and the psychology of healing.
Meg has released nine albums of original music and has won numerous songwriting awards in the US, Ireland and the UK. She collaborated with Ezzie Films/Bluestar Media in 2015 to film Pack up Your Sorrows, a feature length documentary on mental wellness told through the lens of her story. Meg has studied and practiced meditation at the Sakya Institute for Buddhist Studies in Cambridge, MA since 2009. She works as a palliative care chaplain at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Meg finds joy in yoga, poetry, tending her vegetable gardens, and daily hikes with her rescued pit bull, Austin.
Visit Meg’s website here.
- Bipolar Disorder
- Recovery Through Creativity
- Stigma Reduction
- Suicide Prevention
- Yoga and Meditation
In her presentation, Meg discusses her journey with Bipolar I Disorder from the age of nineteen to the present. Her story traces the illness’ onset in college, its effects on her life and creativity while untreated, her hospitalization, and the experience of receiving diagnosis and treatment during acute and recovery phases.
This presentation combines Meg Hutchinson’s personal story with a musical performance of her original songs. She began writing songs as a teenager, during the same time that she began to struggle with early symptoms of Bipolar I. In the years since, Meg has released nine albums and become a nationally touring artist. Meg discusses how poetry and music were her primary coping mechanism for years and how creativity remains central to her healing process to this day. The format is 70 minutes direct delivery with additional time for Q&A. (This program requires a professional sound system. Tech rider available upon request.)
Meg discusses her journey with Bipolar I Disorder over the past 17 years, from fear and shame to acceptance and health. Strong emphasis is placed on recovery as a daily practice and the challenges and rewards this approach inspires. This presentation narrates Meg’s acceptance of the need to take medication, the profound effects that meditation and yoga have had on her life, the value of lifestyle changes, the risks of undiagnosed alcohol abuse, building a positive support network, and the value of honoring our inner lives. (This program may include an interfaith discussion of spirituality where applicable.)
This documentary, Pack Up Your Sorrows, is a story of illness, hope, and transformation told through the lens of singer/songwriter Meg Hutchinson. In this film, she interviews leading minds on issues of mental wellness such as Kay Redfield Jamison and Scott Stossel, and explores alternative therapies with such luminaries as Lama Migmar Tseten, Harvard Buddhist Chaplain & Director of The Sakya Institute for Buddhist Studies. Singer/songwriter Meg Hutchinson weaves together a story of Bipolar Disorder, hope and transformation, illuminated by her music and stunning images of the natural world, to guide us through this unique and moving meditation on achieving wellness.
In 2003, songwriter Meg Hutchinson read an article in The New Yorker featuring an interview with Kevin Briggs, a sergeant with the California Highway Patrol. Briggs had saved hundreds of people from jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge by asking them a few simple questions. Hutchinson wrote a song called “Gatekeeper” based on those questions and dedicated it to Briggs. Ten years later, Briggs heard the song and wrote to Hutchinson. They formed a friendship based on their dedication to mental health literacy and their shared struggles. With a deep commitment to suicide prevention, they offer two powerful perspectives on the issues that matter most in saving lives.
Meg travels from Massachusetts
“Meg’s presentation was even more inspiring and educational than we had hoped. Her warm demeanor and her deep insights into living with mental illness based on her own experience had a real impact on our students. I heard from numerous students afterward that they went back to their residence halls and had in-depth discussions about how to be present to peers living with mental illness. In terms of equipping students with both awareness of how to support others and the ability to seek help when they experience mental health issues themselves, I think the impact will be long-lasting.”
Director, Ina E. Gordy Honors College; coordinator of Forum Series
Mississippi University for Women
“What an amazing turnout and incredible experience Meg provided for our students. We have all remarked over the last few days on the way she sustained the attention of students and the feedback we have received from them is incredibly positive. Thank you for your thoughtful presence, warm style, and openness in sharing your experience. I think it has really made a difference here and set a precedent for programming that will serve us for a long time.”
Stephanie J. Kendall, Ph.D.
Director Hamel Health & Counseling
“Meg Hutchinson is an extraordinary singer, songwriter, and advocate for those with mental illness. She is able to articulate the experience of mania and depression in a way I have not heard before; she is also able to weave together her music, life story, and hope in a beautiful and profoundly moving way.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D.
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Meg does what few mental health speakers can: have a laid back, hopeful, and matter-of-fact conversation with her audience. Her ability to connect through story and song both entertains and reminds us that one need not choose between mental wellness and creativity. I am thankful for her partnership as we work to eliminate stigma among tomorrow’s leaders.”
Former Speaker and Program Manager
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