ROBYN HUSSA FARRELL, MFA, E-RYT is the Founder and CEO of Mental Fitness which she created in 2006 in an effort to connect evidence-based prevention programs to schools across the U.S. Along the way, Hussa Farrell worked in Inpatient, Partial-Hospitalization and Outpatient treatment facilities as a yoga therapist for patients struggling with eating disorders. The combination of working with researchers in schools and working in treatment centers led her to creating an array of engaging evidence-based tools that have connected over 4,000 students safely to treatment.
With a background in NYC theatre and entertainment, Hussa Farrell has been co-creating and directing documentary film educational tools and programs with her husband Tim Farrell, through their production company, White Elephant Enterprises. Together, they create powerful digital initiatives that empower individuals from diverse communities. They recently co-Directed and co-Curated the Highland Video Village installation for Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light — a public art project, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies. They are also resident documentary filmmakers for Way to Wellville, Spartanburg and for the Northside Initiative. Some of the mental health educational documentary films they have co-directed; include, Speaking Out About Ed, Beneath the Floorboards and ED 101 – the result of interviewing more than 50 national experts in the fields of mental health, neuroscience and public health.
Hussa Farrell is also responsible for creating and implementing award-winning Mental Fitness programs that serve as content to many national nonprofits. To assist in deploying this content, in 2014, Hussa and Farrell launched a mental health technology company, Resiliency Technologies — to power more evidence-based prevention content into communities. In 2015, Resiliency Technologies was invited to be a South Carolina Research Authority / SC Launch client company and member of the Medical Enterprise Technology Consortium, in collaboration with the Department of Defense.
For her work creating Mental Fitness’s array of programs and initiatives, Robyn received the 2014 Peace Award from Converse College Westgate Family Therapy and the 2010 Champion in Women’s Health award from former Wisconsin First Lady, Ms. Sue Ann Thompson.
Prior to her work with Mental Fitness, Hussa was co-Founder and Founding Executive Director of the award-winning New York theatre company, Transport Group, winner of Obie awards, Drama Desk nominations and the 2007 Drama Desk award for the company’s breadth of vision and challenging productions. To this day, the work of Transport Group is regarded as some of the best in New York City under the leadership of Jack Cummings III. Follow the journey at www.TransportGroup.org.
Robyn holds an MFA-Acting from the University of Virginia, is a member of the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED), The International Association for Eating Disorders Professionals (IAEDP), and is an E-RYT Certified Yoga Teacher and Continuing Education Provider with the Yoga Alliance. She proudly serves on the Behavioral Health Task Force for United Way of the Piedmont and is heavily involved in the Compassionate Schools and Way to Wellville initiatives in Spartanburg. She and her husband, Tim Farrell moved to South Carolina to deploy prevention-focused technology and to impact more children through arts and resilience initiatives.
AWARDS / SELECT CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS:
- PRESENTER 2017 South Carolina Education and Business Summit (sponsored by South Carolina Department of Education)
- INVITED PRESENTER 2017 Resiliency Summit, USC Upstate Child Advocacy Studies
- Ongoing presenter, Spartanburg Day School and Spartanburg District 7 Schools
- INVITED PRESENTER 2016, 2017 Compassionate Schools Summer Summit, Spartanburg
- INVITED PRESENTER 2016 South Carolina Association for School Social Workers annual conference
- INVITED PRESENTER 2016 Southeastern Symposium on Mental Health, Greenville, SC
- INVITED PRESENTER 2015 National Eating Disorders Association Annual Conference, San Diego, CA
- FEATURED KEYNOTE 2015 Hearth Center Eating Disorders Training, Columbia, SC
- FEATURED KEYNOTE 2015 Reading Hospital Eating Disorders Trainings for K-12 Schools, Reading, PA
- INVITED PRESENTER 2015 SC Bio Conference, Greenville, SC
- INVITED PRESENTER 2014 Wisconsin School Nursing Association annual conference
- FEATURED PRESENTER 2013 South Carolina Social Workers annual conference
- KEYNOTE PRESENTER 2012 IAEDP conference (with Jenni Schaefer and Doris Smeltzer) Charleston, SC
- KEYNOTE PRESENTER 2010-2016 NYU Silver School of Social Work, Common Day
- KEYNOTE PRESENTER 2011 – presenter in San Jose, California, in participation with Eating Disorder Recovery Center and Stanford University
- FEATURED PRESENTER 2011 Wisconsin School Counselors Association (WSCA) annual conference
- KEYNOTE PRESENTER 2011 University of Wisconsin, Madison
- KEYNOTE PRESENTER 2010 American Association of University Women
- KEYNOTE PRESENTER 2009 Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland
- KEYNOTE PRESENTER 2009 Employee Assistance Professional’s Association (EAPA) annual conference
- FEATURED PRESENTER 2007 National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) annual conference
CONFERENCE PRESENTATION DETAIL
Farrell, R.H., (June and July, 2016). “Stress-Management and Mindfulness for Traumatized Children.” Data and evidence-based techniques presented at Compassionate Schools Summer Summit, in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Farrell, R.H., Schoonover, R. (October, 2016). “Stress-Management and Mindfulness for Traumatized Children.” Data and evidence-based techniques presented at South Carolina Association of School Social Workers Fall Conference in Pawleys Island, South Carolina.
Anderson, C.N., Holody, K.J., Flynn, M.A., & Farrell, R.H. (November, 2015). “Strong mind, strong body. The Mental Fitness approach to eating disorder prevention.” Paper presented at the 101th Annual National Communication Association (NCA) Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Kim, N., Dempsey, M., Farrell, R.H., Vazzano, K., Walen, A., (November, 2015). “Creating Change and Raising Awareness: New Thoughts on Advocacy Efforts in Eating Disorders.” Data and findings to be presented at the 2015 National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) annual conference in San Diego, California.
AUTHOR / RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS:
Chapter Author, Yoga and Eating Disorders, Ancient Healing for Modern Illness, Routledge, 2016. Editors Carolyn Costin and Joe Kelly explore how and why the practice of connecting mind and body can be an effective tool in eating disorder recovery. Featuring contributions from experts in eating disorders treatment and yoga practice, this innovative volume includes recovery stories, new research into yoga’s impact on the brain and application to body awareness and acceptance.
Author, Healthy Selfitude This book incorporates exercises that teach self-acceptance through performing arts and yoga techniques (for sale on Gurze Publications and Amazon.com), created in collaboration with Laura Lees, Psy.D., CEDS.
Author, Editor, We Are The Real Deal Blog. The Real Deal blog site is an educational blog universe instructing today’s youths on body image, healthy coping, nutrition and self-esteem featuring more than 30 nationally acclaimed bloggers, researchers and writers. WINNER of #1 body image blog site, eating disorder prevention site.
Co-Adaptor, NORMAL THE MUSICAL (now titled PRETTY TO THE BONE) (2002 Jonathan Larson award-winner)
PUBLICATIONS / RESEARCH PROJECTS
Anderson, C., Flynn, M., Holody, K., Hussa-Farrell, R., (Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment & Prevention, 2017). An evaluation of an evidence-based tiered training program for eating disorders in schools.
Stoner, A., Fadel, N., Hussa-Farrell, R. (in process). Evaluation of “5 Minute Mindfulness” tools for school aged children and educators.
Our ThinkEatPlay program for athletes was collaborator on Kroshus, E., Sherman, R.T., Thompson, R.A., Sossin, K., & Austin, S.B. (2014). Gender difference in high school coaches’ knowledge, attitudes and communication about the female athlete triad. Eating Disorders, 22, 193-208.