Stark County professionals in the fields of health care, social work/counseling and law joined together on the campus of Walsh University for an important discussion on Mental Health & Addiction: Breaking the Stigma. The event was held in collaboration with Walsh’s James B. Renacci Center for Civic Engagement, the Gary and Linda Byer s Institute for Community Health, the Stark County Mental Health & Addiction Recovery.
Guest speakers included Senator Rob Portman, Stark MHAR’s John Aller, George Washington University’s Dr. Wendy Ellis, HopeWorks Executive Director Dan Rhoton, a presentation by the HopeWorks Youth Healing Team and practitioners from local agencies and schools, including Perry Local Schools, NEOMED and Walsh.
The focus of this year’s conference was the impact of mental health and addiction on children and families, innovations in the treatment of mental health and addiction, and the impact of policy and government on mental health and addiction. The symposium offered a diverse perspective on looking at policy, the ACEs model for addressing childhood trauma and a practitioner’s view on how our local school systems are addressing these issues.
“I enjoyed participating in this year’s Breaking the Stigma Symposium, discussing my work at the federal level to ensure that state and local organizations have the resources they need via my bipartisan CARA and CURES grants. Our communities are in crisis right now as more and more Ohioans of every age suffer from addiction. I’m proud of the work that our community leaders are doing here in Canton and around the state to help turn the tide on this addiction crisis,” said Senator Portman. “I will continue to work with local communities and organizations across Ohio to help ensure they have the support and funding they need to continue their good work.”
Senator Portman has led efforts in the U.S. Senate to provide more resources to combat the nation’s drug addiction epidemic. Portman is the author of the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (CARA) that became law in 2016 and provides resources for evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery programs to help people overcome their addiction.
During his opening remarks, Walsh President Tim Collins also took a moment to thank those in attendance for heeding the professional call to work compassionately with those living with issues of addiction and mental health in our own community.
"Here at Walsh University, we are proud to host our speakers and political leadership to engage in this very important symposium. We have an institutional conscience that is very aware of our responsibility in teaching our students about life and the dignity of the human person," said Dr. Collins. "We understand that people are more important than things. And we proudly stand up, and stand with you, as we engage in these conversations.”
Symposium Continuing Education Partners: Stark MHAR, Mercy Medical Center, and the Stark County Bar Association.