Cook County Sheriff Dart Keynote Speaker for Prairie State College Mental Health Conference on Sept. 17

CHICAGO HEIGHTS–(ENEWSPF)–July 24, 2015.  Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart will be the keynote presenter during the Prairie State College (PSC) Second Annual Mental Health Conference, “Changing Perspectives and Altering Perceptions: Understanding Mental Health.”

The event is scheduled from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 17, in the Conference Center of the college’s main campus, located at 202 S. Halsted St. in Chicago Heights. The annual conference is focused on reducing the stigma of mental health disorders, and includes Dart’s keynote presentation, a general session, choice of 10 breakout sessions, a panel discussion and an exhibitor expo.

Dart’s presentation will be “From Washington to Chicago Heights: Root, Effects, and Solutions for the Criminalization of Mental Illness.” Breakout sessions will include topics “Understanding Mental Illness and Homelessness;” “Empowering the African American Client: Demystifying Mental Health;” “Transgender Health and Wellness: Providing Quality, Informed, Compassionate Care;” “Working with Soldiers and Veterans: Getting Soldiers to Talk About Their Pain;” “Foundations for Mental Health: Social and Emotional Learning in the Schools;” and “Care of the Mind, Body and Spirit.”

During the panel discussion, “Journey Part 2: Supporting My Family Member,” attendees will hear personal experiences from parents who are assisting a loved one with managing their mental illness and recovery process.

After attending the inaugural conference in 2014, PSC President Dr. Terri Winfree said what an ‘eye-opening’ experience it was, and encouraged everyone to consider attending this year’s event.

“Every person can benefit from attending this event – professionals, students, and community members alike,” she said. “There is so much to learn, and mental health issues affect so many people in so many different ways. It is important for society to understand the struggles that people face each and every day.”

There is a $99 registration fee. Continuing Education Units (CEU) are available for an additional $20. For more information, call 708-709-7957. Conference and registration details also are available at The registration deadline is Thursday, Sept. 10.

Event partners include The Catholic Charities, Ingalls Behavioral Health Services, Grand Prairie Services, National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) South Suburbs of Chicago, and Sertoma Center.

Exhibitor opportunities still are available. For more information, call 708-709-7799.