On November 15, the Ames CSD hosted a mental health conference at Ames High that was free to families, students, and educators in the Ames community and surrounding areas. The conference served as a great way to help educate the community on a variety of issues and to connect them with available resources.
The conference was a partnership with District schools, Story County Community Partnerships for Protecting Children, and The Cameron Carico +10 Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to “Promote happy and healthy students and families in central Iowa through suicide prevention and mental health education.”
Leading up to the event, Ames Midle School Student and Family Advocate Kaitlyn Clark said, “Community members and families will be able to walk away having a better understanding of general mental health concerns as well as choose some focus areas that they feel are important to them during the scheduled breakout sessions. We want the community and families to be able to recognize mental health concerns and be able to seek out the appropriate resources.”
The conference was highlighted by two keynote speakers. Lyndsey Fennelly spoke from the heart with her struggles with mental health. She is a former Iowa State University and WNBA basketball player, who now works as an athletic trainer for athletes and speaks about mental health issues. Dr. Jeff Kerber is a Clinic & Program Administrator at Unity Point, and followed that session with a great clinical perspective on suicide prevention. Breakout sessions included topics such as anxiety and depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, gender identity/sexual orientation, self harm, social media, and trauma informed care.
Clark said, ”Mental health is a major issue within our schools and it’s important as adults to understand and recognize the symptoms of mental health. 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.”
Can you download Dr. Jeff Kerber’s powerpoint presentation below.
Lyndsey Fennelly keynote address: