Founder and Executive Director of the organization Overcoming the Darkness, Eric Weaver will join Hobart and William Smith to present a talk, “Understanding Mental Illness in the Community.” The mission of Overcoming the Darkness is to increase the overall understanding of mental illness and provide a way to openly talk about the challenges of mental health. The organization provides law enforcement and emergency service training, community services and events, as well as faith-based seminars and keynote speakers on how to respond to the issues surrounding suicide.
Retired from the Rochester Police Department (RPD), Weaver spent more than 13 years with the RPD as a sergeant, SWAT team and internal affairs official. During his time with the RPD, Weaver was diagnosed with a mental illness and hospitalized for severe suicidality. He now openly shares his story with others. One of his last assignments at the RPD was becoming a Mental Health Coordinator. In addition, Weaver also created and developed the Emotionally Disturbed Persons Response Team (EDPRT), a specialized unit within the RPD that responds to calls for individuals who experience suicidal or mental distress.
Weaver is internationally recognized by Mental Health First Aid and Youth Mental Health First Aid programs. He also is a consulting and master instructor of ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training), a SafeTalk (Suicide Alertness Training) Instructor Trainer, a certified QPR (Question, Persuade, and Refer) instructor, a Level One CONNECT (suicide postvention) instructor, and served as both area director and chair of the board of directors for the Western New York Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Due to Weaver’s experiences in the mental health industry, he has been featured in TIME, Details, and Reader’s Digest magazines, WebMD, as well as various news publications and local television programs. Weaver is also a member of the Cambridge Who’s Who Registry of Business Executives and Professionals.
On Monday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. in the Geneva Room, Weaver will address topics such as reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness, increasing understanding of mental illness and suicide awareness, creating a culture that openly discusses mental illness, and proclaiming hope for a level of recovery through support.