BIRD CITY — LiveWell Northwest Kansas, located in Colby, partners with the health departments of Rawlins and Cheyenne Counties, and the mental health industry to promote change and understanding of the field.

Open to the public, the first of three Regional Mental Health Forum meetings will take place from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday at the Bird City Legion Hall, 107 W. Bressler.

Northwest Kansas professionals whose work aligns with mental health issues, as well as people who are affected personally by mental disease, are encouraged to attend. RSVP to the event by emailing one of three program coordinators: travisr@nwksprevention.com (Colby), cdouthit@cheyennecountyhospital.com (Bird City), or karlah@rawlinscounty.org (Atwood).

The purpose of the forum is to highlight problems related to mental health in northwest Kansas. Attendants will learn about mental health issues and solutions will be identified so that actionable steps can be taken to address regional concerns.

Anyone from the entire northwest Kansas region who is interested should attend, especially including school faculty, administration and counselors, clergy, healthcare and mental health professionals, criminal justice and legal representatives, and community members with personal connections.

“Mental health, addiction, incarceration, poverty and trauma are discussed frequently, but no clear collaborative steps toward addressing the issues have been taken,” admits Travis Rickford, Director of LiveWell Northwest Kansas, “ We hope that by coming together, we can build regional understanding and implement collaborative efforts to truly bring about change. Only by gathering people of all sectors of our community can we hope to overcome the unique struggles of mental health.”

Rickford represents LiveWell, located in Colby, which is one of three organizations sponsoring the event. Funded by the Kansas Health Foundation as part of Health Equity Initiatives in northwest Kansas, LiveWell comes together with the Cheyenne County Health Department and Rawlins County Health Department to host this 3-part series of meetings.

“LiveWell is honored to collaborate with the public health departments of Cheyenne and Rawlins County,” said Rickford, “and we are excited to bring together other organizations, health care providers and residents to address this important issue and get to the root of the problem. We are focused on building momentum to take action.”

The meeting later this month is the first of a three-part series, explained Rickford.

“Bringing change will not be a quick process,” he said. “The meetings will all be open to the public and facilitated by a mediator to help us better identify problems and define community-based approaches and solutions. By the end of the third meeting, we hope to have plans for action in place.”

The second and third meetings will be Dec. 5 and Jan. 7 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Bird City Legion Hall.

 

More information can be found online at www.LiveWellNWK.org/upcomingevents.