Saks joins top thinkers at TEDGlobal
USC Gould School of Law professor Elyn Saks recently joined some of the world’s greatest thinkers at the annual TEDGlobal Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she spoke about her lifelong battle with schizophrenia and acute psychosis.
A nationally recognized scholar in mental health law and the ethical dimensions of medical research, Saks’ talk was one of the first to be posted on the TEDGlobal homepage — an honor given to only a few speakers. As of early July, her talk received more than 220,000 views.
“It was a privilege to share my story at the TEDGlobal conference,” said Saks, author of The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness. “The people who attended TED were interesting and resourceful. It was wonderful to speak to this group.”
Saks, who has battled schizophrenia since she was a teenager, hoped to inspire others who may be struggling with mental illness or other challenges.
“I wanted to implode certain myths about schizophrenia, such as that people with the disorder can’t hold meaningful jobs or have close relationships,” she said. “I also wanted to give people who are struggling a sense of hope.”
Saks was featured at the TEDGlobal session, “Misbehaving Beautifully,” along with Ruby Wax, a comedian who spent much of her career battling depression; Vikram Patel, who helps bring health care to low-income communities; Wayne McGregor, a dancer who explores the intersection of mind and movement; and Robert Legato, am Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor who has worked on Hugo and Titanic.
“Being at TED was incredibly exciting,” Saks said. “The quality of the talks and the quality of the conversation were top-notch. I was very impressed by the whole event.”
TED, a nonprofit devoted to ideas, began in 1984 as a conference that brought people together from technology, entertainment and design. The TEDGlobal event attracts an international array of scholars, musicians, artists and innovators who address a wide range of topics in science and culture. Speakers are given a maximum of 18 minutes to present their ideas in the most innovative and engaging way possible.
This year’s theme of “Radical Openness” explored “boundless inventiveness of the human mind.”