By Dr. Timothy Osberg, Professor of Psychology, Niagara University
We now have nearly 150 participants registered for the “Changing Our Minds: A Mental Health Summit” conference that will take place at the Castellani Museum this Saturday, September 19th from 10 am – 1 pm. We are hoping to “sell out the house” and reach the maximum 200 participants allowed in the CAM main gallery according to the fire code. We all know that mental health problems, among our students and in the broader community, are reaching a critical mass.
If you are thinking that giving up the first part of this Saturday is not worth attending a dry conference on a troubling societal problem that makes you uncomfortable – think again! It will not be that kind of conference as detailed below:
- NU alum Maryalice Demler (Emcee), President, Fr. James Maher, and State Senator Robert Ortt, a champion of mental health in the Niagara County community, will help open the conference.
- A dynamic keynote speaker, Eric Weaver, a former Rochester police sergeant, and founder of, Out of the Darkness, will present on overcoming stigma and mental illness.
- Niagara University Theatre students, directed by Doug Zschiegner, will enact engaging situations that highlight how we need to respond differently to the subtle signs of psychological disorders that those around us might reveal.
- There will be a panel discussion comprised of key local mental health professionals, from our campus and in the community, as well as peer advocates from the local area.
- There will be a Resource Fair with key local mental health agencies represented.
- Live musical entertainment by Nick Reding will be on hand, as will light refreshments (coffee, cookies, brownies, flavored water) during the conference.
- Stay around and network afterwards, have some pizza for lunch, and make requests to our talented local acoustic guitarist!
- And, yes, I am presenting at the conference on recognizing the signs of mental illness and supporting someone into the helping system.
If you care about the growing problem of mental health issues at NU and in our community, please consider attending! To register, click here. (Students, staff and faculty of Niagara University can register by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.) Also, please forward this email message to people you know, so that we can form a community partnership on this critical problem!
I hope you will consider starting off this Saturday in the tradition of St. Vincent! We can all “Do More” to foster mental health in our community!
“Mental disease is no different than bodily disease and Christianity demands of the humane and powerful to protect, and the skillful to relieve, the one as well as the other.”
~St. Vincent dePaul