Facing Our Mental Health Crisis: A Community Conversation to be held March 17 at Mount Union

May 24, 2010

Facing Our Mental Health Crisis: A Community Conversation will be held on Wednesday, March 17 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in the Mount Union Theatre on the Mount Union College campus.

Mental illness is a tremendous challenge for individuals who live with conditions such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, for their families, friends and the community.  The dimensions of this urgent problem are brought to light in MINDS ON THE EDGE: Facing Mental Illness, a television program produced for broadcast on PBS that will be shown in a free public screening in the theatre at 6 p.m.  The Division of Social Sciences at Mount Union is presenting this screening, with a panel discussion to follow, to encourage community dialogue about what can be done to improve treatment options and support for people with mental illness and their families.

MINDS ON THE EDGE: Facing Mental Illness, produced by the Fred Friendly Seminars, brings together U.S Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer, clinical psychologist Fred Frese, who has specialized in schizophrenia while living with the condition himself, author Pete Earley, who wrote a gripping account of his family’s experience when his son developed a mental illness, as well as other panelists from law, medicine and public policy who have personal and professional experience with the challenges of mental illness.

The program illuminates challenging ethical issues as well as medical practices that can be barriers to treatment. It also explores the growing reliance on the criminal justice system to manage people with mental illness, a consequence of limited community-based treatment options and support. In diagnosing the problems resulting from a fragmented mental health care system, the program provides a glimpse of many solutions that are currently being implemented across the country.  These innovations, many shaped by the guidance and expertise of people with mental illness, offer promising solutions and hopeful direction to transform the mental health system.

Following the screening, a panel discussion will be held that will include panelists Dr. Frederick Frese from the Summit County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board, John Aller, executive director of the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Stark County, Lon Herman, director of the Best Practices in Schizophrenia Treatment Center (BeST Center) of The Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy (NEOUCOM), Jane James, executive director of the Stark County Affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Dr. James Karpawich, lecturer of forensic psychology at Mount Union and Kathy Moore formerly of the Cuyahoga County Public Defender’s Office. Dr. Jamie Capuzza, professor of communication at Mount Union, will moderate the discussion.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Dr. Tamara Daily, professor of psychology and Chair of the Department of Psychology at Mount Union at (330) 823-2450 or dailyta@mountunion.edu.

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