mental health graphic

Marion County Public Schools will play host to speakers and guests from across the state during the first-ever Shining a Light on Mental Health Regional Mental Health Summit Saturday, September 11 at Marion County High School.

The event brings together mental health experts for a one-day event aimed at providing information and resources to a wide variety of audiences. 

“We want this to be a first-class event with first-class materials,” MCPS Superintendent Taylora Schlosser said. “This isn’t just a conference for those who work in public education. Any business, organization, or group will benefit from hearing from a dynamic lineup of speakers and I certainly hope that as many folks as possible take advantage of this opportunity.”

Registration is now available online here.

Parenting educator, author, and director of the BabbCenter for Counseling Jason Gibson will present the keynote address and members of the Commissioner’s Student Advisory Council will be on hand for a mental health-related discussion from the perspective of young people. Session topics include stress management, substance abuse, Internet safety, coping with grief and other mental health-related topics. 

“We want this to be a successful event so that in the future we can grow it,” Schlosser said. “There are so many aspects of society that need to be educated about these topics: parents, employers, government officials. Mental health is an issue that affects us all either directly or indirectly.”

As the event is scheduled for the 20th anniversary of September 11 attacks, all first responders can attend for free. 

“The most important part of this event is that those in attendance feel like they leave with something, whether it’s tangible resources or just the overall experience to bring more attention to the importance of our social and emotional needs,” Schlosser added.

Included in registration is a continental breakfast, lunch, T-shirt (while supplies last), along with printed material related to the sessions. The event will also include vendor booths that participants can visit between sessions.

The event will conclude with suicide awareness walk around the high school’s track.

“We share this type of information not because it is easy to talk about, but because it can be difficult to find the appropriate way to address these issues,” Schlosser said. “But when you have people come together and present this information at an event like this, it normalizes these important conversations.”