Mental health and how it affects local families and the community will be the focus of a day-long seminar set for Oct. 10.

The seminar, titled “Mental Health: The Family, Community and You,” is targeted at mental health professionals and providers, but the event is also open to interested members of the public, organizers said.

The event will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 10 in the Del Rio Civic Center, 1915 Veterans Blvd. Tickets are $10 for members of the general public and may be purchased at the door just prior to the event, beginning at 7:30 a.m. Oct. 10. The registration fee includes a light breakfast, lunch and snacks.

Raquel Rodriguez, Texas A&M AgriLife extension agent/family community health in Val Verde County and one of the event organizers, said the “State of Health Report 2018” published by Texas A&M AgriLife, showed Val Verde County residents reported an average 3.7 “mentally unhealthy days” in the past 30 days. By comparison, she said, Texans in general reported 3.4 “mentally unhealthy” days and in the nation at large, an average of 3.8 such days was reported.

“Val Verde County is also listed as a medically-underserved and an area that suffers from a shortage of mental health clinicians. Our population to mental health provider ratio is 2,580 to 1, and the rest of Texas is 1,130 to 1. We have a real shortage in this county for health professionals overall and specifically for mental health professionals. It’s really bad,” said Kelly Nowicki, Community Health Improvement Coalition chair and another of the event’s organizers.

The committee that planned the day-long mental health event included community professionals who deal daily with mental health issues, Nowicki said.

Organizers of the event included members of the Val Verde Regional Medical Center, the Val Verde County Sheriff’s Office, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Val Verde, San Angelo Counseling, BCFS, the San Felipe Del Rio Consolidated Independent School District, the Texas Department of State Health Services, the Del Rio Chamber of Commerce, San Antonio Behavioral, the city of Del Rio, United Medical Centers, Regency Health Care, Hill Country, Sul Ross State University and the offices of U.S. Rep. Will Hurd and Texas Sen. Pete Flores.

“Basically, we all came together as we’re trying to navigate our way through this lack of local services, and there was this idea, ‘Why don’t we put on this convention?’ It’s open to the public. Anyone can come and just learn about these issues that are facing our community, and we also wanted it to be beneficial to the health professionals in the area, so certain health professionals and law enforcement professionals can get continuing education credits by attending the seminar,” Nowicki added.

Topics to be discussed during the day-long seminar include trends in mental health, adolescent mental health, mental health and the criminal justice system and trauma.

Speakers scheduled to participate in the event include Greg Hansch, LMSW, interim executive director and public policy director for NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) TX; Tamara Coyne-Beasley, MD, MPH, FAAP, FSAHM, Derrol Dawkins MD Endowed Chair in Adolescent Medicine, vice chair, pediatrics, University of Alabama, Birmingham; Michael Telch, Ph.D., University of Texas clinical psychologist professor and founding director of the Laboratory for the Study of Anxiety Disorders; and Dr. Samuel Garcia, assistant professor at Sul Ross State University in Del Rio.

“The goal of the event is to educate people about mental health issues and provide the first of hopefully many opportunities to educate the public and local professionals and get some more resources going,” Nowicki said.

Persons interested in pre-registering for the event are encouraged to visit the following link:

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