Cancer is hard. Mental health is hard. Dealing with cancer and your mental health? We could all use a little help there. Join us throughout the month of May as we dive into conversations about mental health during and after cancer. We will be hearing from various mental health professionals during four free, informational, and interactive Zoom meetings. Come as you are, join the conversation, or just come to listen and learn some new coping skills.

All of those things you say in your head but haven’t ever said out loud? We are going to be talking about them throughout the month of May.

Registrations for the May Mental Health Series don’t automatically carry over, so make sure you register separately for each one you’d like to attend! See you there!

New speakers each week with real, authentic perspectives

Kristin McMaster, MSW

Kristin McMaster, MSW | Mental Health Resource Specialist, First Descents

Join Kristin on May 4 for Reclaiming Your Body and Confidence

Kristin joins us from California and represents First Descents (FD) as their Mental Health Reviewer and Resource Specialist. Kristin received her Masters of Social Work from the University of Southern California with a concentration in health and conducted research during that time with Dr. Zebrack on the psychosocial issues associated with cancer survivorship. Thereafter, Kristin began her career in oncology social work at UC Irvine Cancer Center, developing a psychosocial support program for young adults in the local cancer community. She also collaborated with doctors to conduct published research on the psychosocial impacts of chronic illness as well as the effectiveness for education-based support groups for those populations.  Through her work with FD and personal passions, Kristin developed an unwavering belief in the strength of the wilderness to heal and help empower people facing challenges like a cancer diagnosis. Along with supporting FD, Kristin helps to run surf camps for kids who have a family member with cancer and runs a technology-based program for low-income students at UC Santa Cruz. When she is not wearing her counselor’s hat, you can find Kristin out in the ocean on her surfboard, riding her mountain bike, or roaming the beautiful trails of California!

Dana L. Kirkpatrick

Dana L. Kirkpatrick, MS, LPC, NCC, CST, CSTS | Owner and Director, Calm Pittsburgh

Join Dana on May 12 for Let’s Talk about Sex and Cancer

Dana, founder of Calm Pittsburgh, is an accomplished therapist who has been practicing for more than 15 years. Dana employs an eclectic approach — focusing on each client’s unique situation. She has a genuine interest in providing tools which assist clients along their path to mental health satisfaction, and operates from a collaborative approach — which includes the client as an active participant in the therapeutic process.


Prior to becoming a therapist, Dana’s experience consisted of working with families whose children were on the Autism Spectrum Disorder. This work, along with her natural strengths and personality, have resulted in her skills-based therapeutic approach. She incorporates a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy model — the positive results of which are undeniable in reducing symptoms of anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), among other issues.


During the past 12 years, she also has gained extensive experience working with couples on various issues, helping to guide them on a path of relationship health and satisfaction. Her work as a Certified Sex Therapist through the internationally recognized AASECT organization has gained her notice in the field.


Dana’s 2010/11 breast cancer battle taught her much about managing stress, assertiveness, and living life to the fullest. Her insights and recovery efforts paid off: she is now cancer free, wiser, and more compassionate.


Dana’s clients will never be without support, guidance, and resources, as she helps clients cultivate tools and processes necessary to reach their goals and find their own place of calm.

Kelly Hendershot, LGSW, LMSW

Kelly Hendershot, LGSW, LMSW | Senior Director, Partner Support, Cancer Support Community

Join Kelly on May 19 for Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Why Can’t I Stay Positive?

Kelly is the lead liaison for patient and family programming across CSC’s growing network of partners – which includes CSC and Gilda’s Club centers, hospital and clinic partnerships, and satellite locations. She ensures that programming is effectively implemented throughout the network and meets the quality standards that are a part of CSC’s 40-year tradition as a relentless ally for patients.


Prior to joining CSC, Kelly was the Program Director for Gilda’s Club Quad Cities.  Kelly was integral to the success of her affiliate and wore many different hats during her tenure there.  From Associate Board President to intern, facilitator, manager and then director, Kelly applied her skills and expertise throughout the organization.


“What began as a need for support through my husband’s cancer diagnosis and death, grew into a strong passion of ensuring that others never have to face cancer alone,” Kelly said.


Kelly holds a Bachelor of Arts from Saint Mary’s University and a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Iowa (Go Hawkeyes!) as well as a certification in web design. She is also a Lakshmi Voelker Chair Yoga™ (LVCY) certified instructor and a yoga 4 cancer (y4c) trained instructor.

Jena Skelton, LPC, MA

Jena Skelton, LPC, MA | Licensed Professional Counselor, Westmoreland Psychotherapy Associate

Join Jena on May 24 for Choosing to Thrive While Dying

I graduated college from Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA with a degree in Art Therapy. I then continued onto Graduate school at Adler University in Chicago, IL for Master’s degrees in both Art Therapy and Counseling. After two years of supervised counseling in Boston, MA, I moved back to Pennsylvania to get Licensed as a Therapist.


I have worked with clients of varying age, gender, race, and culture. I have worked with groups, families, couples, and individuals in a residential, outpatient, intensive outpatient, home, and school-based setting. I like to use creativity in the treatement process, as well as Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT). I currently work at Westmoreland Psychotherapy Associates in Murrysville, PA, as well as run online cancer support groups for young adult cancer survivors at YASU.


Struggle is something that I believe every single living thing experiences. It is a concept that can bring us into some of our hardest moments in life, but it also presents the opportunity to connect, grow, and learn. I believe that confronting our struggles and working through them is one of the most valuable journeys that life brings. We all struggle in different ways and at different times. As a therapist, I hope to be there with you in whatever your struggle may be. I believe in meeting people where they are at and providing comfort, support, and empowerment. I follow a humanistic approach that caters to each individual’s needs. I believe in this process and am amazed every single day by the resilience that people hold.

May 4: Reclaiming Your Body and Confidence

7-8:30pm ET (90 mins) | Zoom Meeting (registration required)

Cancer can make you feel as though you have been robbed of the body you once felt very at home in and leave many feeling completely disconnected from themselves.  While this is incredibly common in the cancer community, there is still very little done to address it.  Join us for a presentation from a member of First Descents to talk about their approach to bringing survivors back to themselves for over 20 years now. First Descents is a non-profit dedicated to serving the AYA (Adolescent and Young Adult) cancer community. This presentation will include an activity to get you thinking about your relationship to your body as a survivor and how you can start improving that relationship.

May 12: Let's Talk About Sex and Cancer

7-8:30pm ET (90 mins) | Zoom Meeting (registration required)

Let’s be honest, cancer changes people. Physically and mentally. Sometimes it can be really hard to give yourself permission to find pleasure, feel sexy, and give into intimacy. Learn from a fellow cancer survivor and sex therapist how to find pleasure after a diagnosis and reconnect to your most intimate self. Listening to and exploring your body is the first step in finding pleasure with yourself or with partners.

May 19: Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Why Can't I Stay Positive?

7-8:30pm ET (90 mins) | Zoom Meeting (registration required)

Join us for this interactive workshop as we discuss the connection between cancer and depression, grief, and resilience. We will explore the top concerns related to cancer and strategies to overcome these various issues, while learning ways to stay positive.

May 24: Choosing To Thrive While Dying

7-8:30pm ET (90 mins) | Zoom Meeting (registration required)

Death is inevitable, but how you live while you are dying is up to you. We’ll hear from an expert on thriving while dying, having conversations about end of life care, and how to navigate the complex emotions and practicalities that come with a terminal diagnosis. No matter where you are in your cancer experience, come as you are and be joined by others who get it.

Why attend Gryt Health programs?

Leah and Dan at computer

Interactive and engaging

Gryt programs don’t follow the kind of typical Zoom “talk at you” structure. Our speakers are encouraged to allow viewer participation to help dictate discussion. We listen to the community who helps us determine the kind of programming they’re seeking!

Inclusive-first program design

All of our Zoom programs are carefully crafted to ensure everyone can participate. For all of our programs, interactive elements that will be shown are designed for maximum accessibility for everyone in the community.

Talking about the hard-to-talk-about-stuff during the month of May.

Registrations for the May Mental Health Series don't automatically carry over, so make sure you register separately for each one you'd like to attend! See you there!

Have questions?

We're here to help.

Dee Phelps