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Tragedies underline the need to be prepared to respond to mental illness

LEWISTON – An upcoming summit sponsored by the Mental Health Association of Niagara County and Niagara University is designed to educate the public on how to identify and respond to mental illness, both in the workplace and in everyday situations.

The summit will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sept. 19 at Niagara University and the cost is $15 per person. Register online at www.mhanc.com. In light of some of the recent tragedies across the country, businesses are encouraged to send one employee to attend the summit and to designate that person as a “mental health ambassador.”

Dr. Timothy Osberg, a professor of psychology at Niagara University and a licensed psychologist who will speak at the summit said, “It is critically important that more people have the willingness and skills to help others in crisis so that fewer tragedies occur.”

Attendees will learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness in those around them and learn how to be supportive in assisting people to access the mental health services they need. Speakers, presentations, demonstrations and training materials will be offered, as well as a resource fair.

Eric Weaver, a retired sergeant with the Rochester Police Department and the founder of “Overcoming Darkness” will speak on overcoming the stigma of mental illness and Maryalice Demler, an anchor at WGRZ-TV and an alumna of Niagara University will serve as the master of ceremonies.