News Article Details

Ames School District will host mental health conference

Ames Tribune - 11/14/2018

Nov. 14--The Ames Community School District will hold a free mental health conference on Thursday with speakers, a resource fair and sessions for students and their families.

Ames Middle School Student and Family Advocate Kaitlyn Clark said there a need for this conference due to a presence of mental health issues in the school district.

"Mental health is a major issue within our schools and it's important as adults to understand and recognize the symptoms of mental health," Clark said.

Students and their families will be able to learn more about those symptoms and be educated about solutions to them.

The last hour of the conference will allow attendees to pick two sessions to learn more about mental health with some topics surrounding substance abuse, self harm, anxiety and depression and even social media's role in mental health.

The first thing the conference wants to tackle during the conference is the stigma of mental health and how to change that stigma.

"Creating these types of events minimizes the stigma that comes with mental health and will hopefully open the door to have more conversations surrounding the mental health needs of students in the community."

Leading the lecture, "Reducing the Stigma of Mental Health" is keynote speaker Lyndsey Fennelly. She is married to current Iowa State Women's Assistant basketball coach Billy Fennelly.

Lyndsey Fennelly was a four-year starter and All-American at Iowa State University. She was then drafted to the WNBA in 2007. After she graduated from ISU, she started training athletes both mentally and physically by offering motivational speaking and volunteering for community services in need.

Her lecture will talk about how debilitating mental health can be regardless of factors such as age, gender and race. She will be telling an exclusive story to the Ames community regarding how crippling mental illness is and how important proper treatment is.

School district director of media relations Eric Smidt said he believes that Ames has a good team of individuals when it comes to mental health awareness.

"Ames High Student and Family Advocate Jean Muhammad is absolutely amazing, as is Kaitlyn Clark at Ames Middle School," he said. "With the addition this year of Associate Principal Brian Carico at Ames High, who has an amazing personal story and has been influential in training across the state."

Smidt says this conference is the first step in supporting students and their families when it comes to these issues.

"We are poised to raise awareness across our community." He said. "This mental health conference is only the beginning of continuing that conversation."

The mental health conference will be held at the Ames High School from 5-8:30 p.m. with tickets available at http://bit.ly/2qfGrY2.

SCHEDULE:

Informational Resources with light food provided: 5 to 5:45 p.m.

"Reducing the Stigma of Mental Health" by Lyndsey Fennelly: 5:45 to 6:15 p.m.

Gatekeeper training by Jeff Kerber: 6:15 to 6:45 p.m.

Two Breakout Sessions: 7 to 8 p.m.

Sessions include:

Anxiety and Depression: What does it look like?

Eating Disorders

Gender Identity/Sexual Orientation

Substance Abuse

Self Harm

Social Media

ACES/Trauma Informed Care

ACSD Counselors Panel

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(c)2018 the Ames Tribune, Iowa

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