Mental Health Town Meeting Explores
 How to Get Help for Friends, Loved Ones, Nov. 8

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It could be a friend, co-worker, or a family member. A man or a woman. A child, a teen, a working adult, a retiree. You notice a change in habits, a difference in demeanor. Maybe he or she is more hyper. Or maybe he or she is more apathetic. You sense that something is wrong.

It could be a buildup of stress from a family problem, or the job, or school. It could be a case of the blues or the blahs. It could pass in a day or two. But somehow you don’t think it will. Is it a mental health problem? You are more and more afraid it is. Does the person need expert help? Does it call for treatment? Is it a dangerously deep depression? Or is it some other serious disorder of the mind?

What do you do? Who do you call on for help?

Those are questions the Kent and Queen Anne’s County Mental Health Town Meeting and Resource Fair hopes to help answer. The public is invited to the event which is being held on Saturday, November 8 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church of Chestertown, 905 Gateway Drive.

The featured speaker is Dr. Mark S. Komrad, a psychiatrist on the clinical and teaching staff of Sheppard Pratt Hospital and the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. One of his specialties is advising people on how to convince an emotionally or behaviorally troubled loved-one or friend to accept psychiatric evaluation and treatment.  His book on the subject, You Need Help! A Step-by-Step Plan to Convince Your Loved One to Get Counseling, was published in 2012.

“Just about everyone knows a relative, friend, or co-worker who is exhibiting signs of emotional or behavioral turmoil,” Dr. Komrad said. “Yet figuring out how to reach out to that person can feel insurmountable.
“We know it is the right thing to do, yet so many of us hesitate to take action out of fear of conflict, hurt feelings, or damaging the relationship. Other times, we have talked with the person, but he or she just won’t listen.”

Dr. Komrad has used his frequent radio and television appearances to spread the word about getting help for mental health problems while trying to dispel the stigma attached to an illness that can affect anyone of us.
Among his professional honors, Dr. Komrad has been named a “Distinguished Fellow” by the American Psychiatric Association and a top practitioner by both the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and its Baltimore chapter.

Dr. Komrad will take questions after his talk, and a panel discussion, moderated by Kate Farinholt, executive director of NAMI Maryland, will follow. Panelists, who are all directors of Eastern Shore mental health organizations, are Holly Ireland of Mid-Shore Mental Health Services; Beth Ann Langrell, of For All Seasons; Nancy Connolly, of Kent County Behavioral Health Services, and Ben Kohl, of Eastern Shore Psychological Services.

The Maryland chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is helping coordinate the event. Sponsoring organizations include the Chester Valley Ministers Association.

Event organizers said the Mental Health Town meeting is being held to raise awareness of mental health needs, while stressing the importance of early intervention, and letting our citizens know what we have on the Upper and Mid Shore in the way of local resources to help.

They hope the event will lead to many discussions about mental illness that can inform the public of available resources and reduce the stigma surrounding mental and behavioral disorders.

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