Racine, Wisconsin (October 6, 2016) – On the evening of Thursday, October 6, more than 175 people attended the third annual Bridging the Gaps in Mental Health Symposium at the Ascension – All Saints, St. Luke’s Health Pavilion, 3801 Spring Street. This event is part of an ongoing series hosted by Infinite Potential Central (your-ipc.com), NAMI Racine County and United Way of Racine County to increase mental health awareness, assess gaps in service, and break down stigma and discrimination as it relates to mental illness.
The event began with a welcome from United Way president, Rodney Prunty. He stated, “United Way is proud to partner with local organizations to support positive mental health. One of United Way’s goals is to increase the number of Racine County residents who participate in quality physical and mental health practices. It is so important for the individual, their families and the entire community that people have the support and resources they need for assistance and recovery.” Prunty then introduced a video highlighting four personal mental illness recovery stories from Dr. Eric Gallien, Deputy Superintendent of Racine Unified School District; Haley Schonter, Miss Racine 2016; Mary Wilson, NAMI Racine County Outreach Worker; and Dr. Soheila Brouk, Founder, Infinite Potential Central.
Prunty also led a panel discussion on the status of mental health in Racine County. Five panelists participated, including Anne Hysaw, LCSW, School-Based Therapist, SC Johnson Elementary School; Tom Christensen, Caledonia Village Administrator/Former Law Enforcement Officer Racine Police Department, NAMI Wisconsin co-President, Crisis intervention Training Facilitator; Jonathan Delagrave, Racine County Executive; Mary Wilson, NAMI Racine County Outreach Worker; and Haley Schonter, Miss Racine 2016. Mike Boticki, executive director of NAMI Racine County shared, “I am very happy that we had such a well-rounded panel at tonight’s event. To have a mix of lived experienced, a mental health provider and representation from various systems presents a more complete picture of the state of mental health in Racine County.”
The evening concluded with the presentation of the first annual Luann Simpson Commitment to Recovery Award by Mike Boticki, executive director of NAMI Racine County and Soheila Brouk, founder of Infinite Potential Central. The award criteria states that in recipient has clearly taken steps to achieve recovery in his/her own life, has further utilized recovery to provide awareness and hope to peers, brought recognition and appreciation of recovery philosophies to the community, and implemented change within local and larger systems. Soheila Brouk stated, “As the sponsor of this award, we at Infinite Potential Central recognize the bravery and strength it takes to acknowledge one’s own mental health challenge(s), the determination to seek treatment and the arduous, yet hopeful journey towards recovery.” There were three nominees including Lynelle Saunders, Mary Wilson and Amy Randolph. Lynelle Saunders was presented with the award for her commitment to her own recovery and contributions to improve awareness of mental health matters within the community. She is a former board member and employee of NAMI Racine County and current executive director of the Racine Friendship Clubhouse.
To view the video highlighting the four personal mental illness recovery stories, please visit http://www.unitedwayracine.org/mental-health-collaborative. For more information about this event or mental health resources, please visit http://your-ipc.com or contact Dr. Soheila Brouk at firstname.lastname@example.org.