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Virtual conference planned to address youth and mental health

mental health
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The past year has been challenging for many, and unfortunately, the youths of our community have been hit extremely hard when it comes to their mental health and well-being.

Many of them have spent a year with virtual learning, been separated from friends, had to process loss, pain, and grief like never before, and all while trying to discover more about themselves.

In response, Mental Health America of Augusta presents the “Children and Youth: The State of Mental Health” virtual conference on Monday, April 26, beginning at 9 a.m.

A live q/a discussion with a community panel will take place at 1:30 p.m. discussing how we can begin to provide children and youth the resources and support they need.

The conference aims to prepare teachers, families, and professionals to serve the youth of the community.

“It is time we listen to our children and help them create environments where they feel safe, secure and hopeful of a bright future,” said MHA-A Executive Director Bruce Blair. “I believe we can no longer wait until a crisis to support youth’s mental health. If we want to improve mental health, we must start early, invest in what works, and advance the ideas and leadership of young people.”

The keynote speaker is Vanita Halliburton, co-founder and executive chairman of the Grant Halliburton Foundation, presenting the topic “The Cost of Silence: Why We’re Still Talking about Stigma.” Halliburton’s work is built on strengthening mental health resources for children, teens, and young adults, in addition to promoting better mental health and suicide prevention.

Additional speakers include:

  • Sharon Hoover on Mental Health and the Schools: Hoover is the co-director of the National Center for School Mental Health and Director of the NCTSN Center for Safe Supportive Schools (CS3).
  • Claudette Fette on Partnering with Families: Fette is a clinical professor and occupational therapist with Texas Women’s University.
  • Dr. Vaile Wright on Stress in the Time of COVID-19-The Impact on Children and Adolescents: Wright is the senior director of Health Care Innovation with the American Psychological Association

“From the conversations, I’ve had in the community with youth, parents, leaders, and others in the mental health field, I believe our community is willing and ready to support the youth in ways that will make a difference in their lives,” Blair said. “However, it will take every single one of us to be able to support our children and youth and be prepared to talk with them throughout these formidable years.”

The half-day conference fee ranges from $20-$25 with an option for 30 days of access to content. Scholarships are available. A certificate of attendance for four hours will be presented to virtual participants.

The virtual conference is sponsored by Appeal Production, the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge, Learning Rx, and Blue Ridge Community College.

To register for the conference, visit

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