LARNED — With nearly one in 10 adults age 18 and over predicted to suffer from a depressive illness each year, the Pawnee Valley Community Hospital Foundation, partnering with Pawnee County and the Community Health Organization, will present ‘The Many Faces of Mental Health’ as its second Community Conversation. The public is invited to attend this free event taking place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19 at the Larned Middle School Gymnasium.
Celebrity teen and family life coach Jeff Yalden will be the guest speaker. Yalden will be sharing his life experiences; he is regarded as an expert on teen mental health, suicide prevention and crisis intervention. He has been speaking for 20 years traveled to all 50 states, 49 different countries and addressed over four million people. Jeff will be addressing the Larned and Pawnee Heights High School and Middle School students during the day.
Only half of all Americans experiencing depression receive help. 1 in 4 people suffer from depression; Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages. There is one death by suicide in the US every 12 minutes and is the second leading cause of death for ages 15-44, the rate of PTSD among veterans is fifteen times higher that civilians, and depression ranks among the top 3 workplace issues in the United States, along with family crisis and stress.
Julie Bugner-Smith, Foundation Development Coordinator for Pawnee Valley Community Hospital Foundation, started the Community Conversation program last fall with the topic “Distracted Driving.”
The Distracted Driving event brought in local speakers Amy Schmidt and Jacque Tierce from Larned whom had lost daughters to distracted driving. Shiane Woods from Meade also lived to tell her story of texting and driving. This pilot event was a great success and was offered to the High School students from Larned and Pawnee Heights with the Highway Patrol and Kansas Traffic Safety Resource office involved.
When Julie considered the next topic for Community Conversations, she was presented with the idea of Mental Health by Kyle Grant at the Pawnee County Extension.
“The topic is one that affects us all and has no discrimination of age, race or gender,” Smith said.
The PVCH Foundation then contacted local resources, Center for Counseling, Larned State Hospital, Avenues for Change, Pawnee Health Department, Pawnee County Sheriff Department, Pawnee County Extension office, City of Larned, local schools and churches and the University of Kansas Health Systems, Pawnee Valley Campus. Strength is in numbers and with the resources and support of this event Larned is addressing one of their community concerns on the Community Health Needs Assessment.
These resources will be available after Jeff Yalden’s presentation and the Center for Counseling will providing a Youth Mental Health First Aid workshop by Kristian Pearson on Friday March 29th from 8am to 5pm(1 hour lunch) @ the Pawnee County Courthouse.
“I am so thankful PVCH Foundation called and we are so pleased to be a part of this important Community Conversation,” Pearson said.
According to Kramp, learning mental health first aid doesn’t’ replace good mental health. It does, however teach us and help us practice skills that will improve our mental health-it empowers us to support other in healing.
“Everyone has a story and we want this event to help make a difference and reach out to those in need and educate about mental health,” Smith said.
The PVCH Foundation’s hope that Jeff’s presentation will help eliminate the stigma of Mental Health and the conversation will begin to help others.