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Mental Health Task Force Conference Focuses on Collaboration 

When unexpected things happen, communities come together to help each other recover from the disaster. However, in most circumstances, those involved don’t really know or understand what the other ‘experts’ are doing. The Northwest Missouri Mental Health Task Force decided to take a proactive approach to developing collaborative relationships before the crisis occurs.

The Task Force’s 2012 Spring Conference, “Community Collaboration: Our Bridge to the Future,” offers well-known speakers to further the Task Force’s goal of bringing the community together to deal with two specific areas: returning military and the effects of teen alcohol and drug misuse on families and communities.

Dr. Brigadier General Mark Corson is an associate professor of geosciences at Northwest and a Brigadier General in the U.S. Army Reserve. Corson was charged with overseeing the effort to reduce the number of American Troops in Iraq from 130,000 to 50,000 by September 1, 2010 during “Operation Responsible Drawdown”. He will address the unique needs, issues and concerns of young returning veterans from the war in Iraq.

Rich Linden speaks on youth issues both regionally and nationally. He has spoken to over 800,000 teens and adults about alcohol and other drug abuse problems including NYAA (The National Youth Adult Alliance on Underage Drinking), MADD, National TREND (Turning Resources and Energy in New Directions), Camp Quality, Missouri Association of Peer Helpers, as well as many state wide and local youth groups.

The conference will be held April 12 at the First Christian Church in Maryville with doors opening at 5:00 p.m. for registration. A meal will be served at 5:30 with speakers to begin at 6:00 p.m. There is a $20 registration fee, which includes dinner and materials; however, for each additional registration from the same family, business or organization the cost is discounted to $10.

“Our objective for the conference is to provide training and resources to the residents of Maryville and the surrounding area to increase awareness and improve the access of mental health services,” explains Rhonda Lesley, MA, LPC, Licensed Professional Counselor at NWMSU and Task force Chairperson. “We want to serve as a catalyst to change the stigma of mental illness and promote the positive aspects of receiving assistance for mental wellness, and to facilitate the development of a seamless continuum of care.”

Seating for the April 12 event is limited. To register or for more information regarding the conference, call the St. Francis Community Relations office at (660) 562-7933.

 
 
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