So-called deaths of despair—deaths from drug overdoses, suicide, and alcohol-related disease—markedly increased in the United States in the first two decades of the twenty-first century. In 2017, the American Psychological Association issued a report on the implications of climate change for mental health: “climate grief” is now a recognized term. Therapists are also reporting what is called “democracy grief,” over the parlous state of our nation. Last but not least, the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked trauma and moral injury on healthcare providers and threatens to leave new forms of despair in its wake.

This interdisciplinary conference, which took place on September 8, 2022, on the King's College campus in Wilkes-Barre, was concerned with both the consequences and the causes of despair in the United States: the consequences for health and for our politics; the cultural, economic, and social causes. The conference also sought, however, to identify and investigate reasons for hope and practices that support it.

Click here to see the list of speakers, topics, and learning objectives. Visit the McGowan Center's YouTube channel to see recordings of the four sessions. The conference was jointly provided by King's College and the Lehigh Valley Health Network, with the support of the Moses Taylor Foundation.

Information about continuing education credits (types, hours) is available here. Email with any questions about documenting your attendance.