AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Anyone who struggles with mental health or wants to help those around them who do can learn at a mental health conference later this month hosted by the Panhandle Behavioral Health Alliance.
The Peace of Mind Conference invites those in the community with mental health issues to connect with resources and experts about behavioral health.
“This is our first public event in that we’ve been working for the last, I would say three and a half years on creating an alliance so that as a collective we can make an impact in what the needs are,” said Chairman of the Panhandle Behavioral Health Alliance Laura Street.
Amarillo-native Terry Bentley Hill is the keynote speaker, a criminal defense attorney in Dallas whose focus on mental health began after her first husband and 14-year-old daughter committed suicide.
“What her message is is don’t mind your own business and how that happens,” said Street. “We’ve chosen her because her story is so impactful and she’s an amazing speaker and she’s from Amarillo and knows us well.”
The conference will also have a resource fair and a Q&A session with an expert panel of psychologists, pharmacists and other health professionals.
Street believes education and access to mental health care is scarce in the region.
“So many of our top 26 counties in the Panhandle have nothing, or have very little,” she said. “And we need to be able to help them connect whatever resources they have in their county to other resources here in our area of Amarillo, Canyon and beyond that, and we also need to help those counties who have no resources.”
An art exhibit will also feature works by people who have experience with behavioral health conditions.
Executive Director of the Panhandle Behavioral Health Alliance Shree Veeramachaneni said the goal of the conference is to encourage people to seek help early.
“To participate in preventative and early intervention practices so that they’re able to get help in a timely manner,” she said.
The conference is free to the public and will be Tuesday, May 21 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Texas A&M Agri-Life Research and Extension Center.
“The sooner you seek treatment, the more successful you will be, the more you will be able to manage the disease versus the disease managing you,” said Veeramachaneni.