Safe2Feel conference inspires young adults to connect with their emotions

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BYU alum Bronson Kaufusi takes picture with young kids at the Safe2Feel conference. The Safe2Feel conference was held Jan. 20. (McKenna Jensen)

The Safe2Feel conference, held on Jan. 20, empowered young adults to embrace emotional intelligence through the insights of various speakers.

The event was hosted by the M.E.C.A Project and presented by Counterfeit Emotions and Vibeonix. The M.E.C.A. Project was founded by Kristi Holt and her husband Ryan Holt. The mission is “to provide free best-in-class education, tools and resources to teens, young adults and the people who care about them,” according to their website.

Through the M.E.C.A Project, Kristi Holt said she was able to meet other dedicated individuals with emotional intelligence backgrounds. This led to a conversation with Wall Street Journal bestselling author and entrepreneur Curtis Morley, which sparked the Safe2Feel conference.

According to Kristi Holt and Morley, they wanted to create a space where individuals could feel safe and learn how to turn their emotions into superpowers.

“This conference was to provide a safe place to let people know it’s okay to feel,” Morley said. “And not only is it okay, but it’s important. Our emotions can go from kryptonite into superpowers.”

BYU alum and former NFL player Bronson Kaufusi, spoke at the Safe2Feel conference. He talked about the importance of mental health and tips for spreading awareness.

“It’s such an important thing and I know we all know someone that’s been affected by this, so just do one thing,” Kaufusi said. “Go to a conference, take a friend (and) go. If you’re struggling, go get professional help. Go do it.”

Motivational speaker and bestselling author specializing in suicide prevention, Ganel-Lyn Condie, also spoke at the conference. She shared the experience of losing her sister Meg to suicide and advocated normalizing conversations about mental health and creating hope for those struggling.

“Hope is the Plan B, Plan C or Plan D,” she said.

In addition to listening to a series of speakers, attendees were given practical resources and tools to support their mental health.

Booths from organizations such as The Hope Hero Foundation provided coaching, mental well-being activities, massages and educational resources, helping individuals become the heroes of their own stories.

Conference attendee Christina Owen said the booths exemplified just how much individuals can do to take charge of their own mental well-being.

At the end of the conference, participants, including young teenagers, shared takeaways about how the classes helped them navigate their emotions.

According to Kristi Holt and Morley, the attendees are the ones who make the experience so special.

Georgette Lalaus traveled from Paris to take part in the event. Lalaus said she found healing in learning from others and serving them.

Kristi Holt shared at their last workshop, a young man confided in her and revealed he had been struggling with suicidal thoughts and already had a plan in mind. He thanked her and the other event organizers for creating a space where he felt seen and heard.

“It makes every part of it worth it,” she said. “For one person to understand their emotions and not feel like they have to continue to suffer.” 

If you or someone you know is navigating challenges with emotional well-being, please contact BYU’s Counseling and Psychological Services at 801-422-3035.

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