Unique conference will help those who help others with mental health challenges
Mental health issues are more prominent with the public than they were only a few years ago.
Socio/economic status, biological factors, chemical dependencies, complicated relationship issues and many other factors are coming into play. Whereas in the past many mental issues were stigmatized, ignored, glossed over or overtreated with drugs, today diagnosis and therapy is becoming far more the status quo.
Professionals who work with those who have mental health challenges have a unique conference to attend in Brooks Nov. 12-14.
The Rural Mental Conference the motto for which is "Unique Challenges, Unique Solutions" will take place at the Medicine Hat College's Brooks Campus. starting noon Nov. 12 in order for many of the outof-town mental health-related professionals time to get to Brooks.
Roberta Rogers, Conference Chair, says the idea for the conference came after discussion being initiated after an unspecified "crisis in Brooks." After talking with colleagues, peers and general members of the public, the idea for a conference which was targeted for mental health professionals or for those who need to have a high level of expertise in mental health diagnosis.
"Worried about the impact (mental health issues) was having on our community and our youth" explains Rogers. "Attempts to get get help or advice amongst professionals, what do they do. I reached out...I got a positive response."
Rogers is semi-retired, but still does some work with the Student Development Department, Medicine Hat CollegeBrooks Campus.
Rogers adds that the speakers and those taking in the conference from across the province. She explains that this is targeted for those outside of Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer etc. because rural Alberta "is a unique population."
There will be guest speakers and keynote addresses which will will also feature study/discussion bear-pit sessions where peers can talk about certain topics.
In order to address a wide variety of issues facing mental health professionals, there are four "breakout sessions."
On Nov. 12, cannabis talk, violence threat risk assessment; post secondary (rural mental health on post secondary campus). Breakout sessions on Nov. 13 include community collaboration-conflict resolution; naloxone training; e-mental health tool for youth; post traumatic stress disorder; Camrose Men's Shed Response Committee; Domestic Violence Intervention and Sexual Assault Response.
Rogers is excited about the speakers assembled. She said the work began in earnest in June but the idea had been bandied about previously.
"The quality of speakers are top flight," Rogers states. She says the quality is because of all the organizers' contributions in not only suggesting certain speakers but in getting in contact with them. "Kinda of in a state of disbelief (in regards to the high quality of speakers). I can't say enough about the professionalism of the speakers and them wanting to be a part of this."
The conference is targeted for those who specifically work in the field but can be attended by anyone, there is a fee however. There is an open public event as former Canadian Football League all star linebacker and Grey Cup winner Shea Emry will have a public presentation 7 p.m., Nov. 12 at the Brooks Heritage Inn. Tickets are $20.
To get more details on Emry's presentation or about the other conference speakers please see the website at www.rmhconference.ca.