Champaign group promotes resources for mental health

CHAMPAIGN — Following the second-deadliest school shooting ever in Newtown, Conn., last month, one local parent group is hoping to educate residents about mental-health resources.

Champaign's Parent Teacher Association Council is planning a meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Franklin Middle School to host a panel of representatives from local community agencies that offer mental-health services and more. The school's address is 817 N. Harris Ave., C.

"This is the beginning of a dialogue to help promote mental health," said Sheri Williamson, the vice president of the PTA Council, and she said it's open to the community because mental health isn't just an issue within the schools.

Williamson said she hopes the meeting will be the beginning of a discussion, and she hopes to follow it with a safety fair this spring.

She wants the meeting to make residents aware of resources for mental health in children, adolescents or even adults.

"We really want to be able to keep this conversation going," Williamson said.

The PTA Council is made up of representatives of all the Champaign schools' PTAs, she said.

Champaign school spokeswoman Stephanie Stuart said the school district is happy to see the PTA Council's "proactive approach to connecting our parents to mental health resources in our community."

"We are grateful to have such a vast offering of mental health resources available here in Champaign and hope further awareness of these resources among our parents translates to safer, happier environments for our students and families," Stuart said.

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jdmac44 wrote on January 07, 2013 at 10:01 am

I'm glad to see one of the key issues related to these shootings being addressed.  There are a lot of people who need help who aren't getting it.

rsp wrote on January 07, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Would be nice to see a story on how hard it is to get into these places and the effects of the budget cuts. 

Sid Saltfork wrote on January 07, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Good comment, rsp.  Funding has been slashed for years.  Treatment costs have risen beyond state agencies maximum payment levels.  People without insurance coverage have limited resources available.

When I first started working for the state, I was in a meeting with the Director of the Adolph Meyer Zone Center.  On the wall behind his desk was a huge banner of trailer printer paper.  It read "Support Mental Health, Or I Will Kill You".  I thought it was in poor taste at the time.  However after all of the mass murders in recent years; now, I think it was a prophecy.