Dialogue on mental health Saturday at Sacramento Convention Center

07/18/2013 12:00 AM

07/18/2013 6:35 AM

Sacramento experts and community leaders will host a dialogue Saturday about mental health, becoming one of the first 10 cities to join the national conversation on mental health, an initiative President Barack Obama called for in early June.

"Its a time to take a step back and reflect on how we can hold a conversation about this issue, which typically has been kept in the shadows," said Tom Campbell, senior associate with America Speaks, a nonprofit organization for public engagement. "People can recognize that they're not alone in this."

Creating Community Solutions, to be held in the Sacramento Convention Center, will focus on community mental health, especially concerning young people.

Scheduled speakers include Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, among others.

"I am honored to answer President Barack Obama's call to begin a new national conversation on mental health and have our region be one of the first cities to discuss how we can reduce stigma and help people reach out to get help," Johnson said in a news release.

The public is invited to communicate with mental health practitioners and people who have experience with mental health issues, strategizing to create an action plan for improving mental health programs and services.

Funding for the local initiative comes from California health foundations, including Sierra Health Foundation, Blue Shield of California Foundation, The California Endowment and The California Wellness Foundation.

Campbell said target participation for the event is 400 people, which will hopefully include about 120 young people.

"We want to know what we can do to move forward and address critical issues," Campbell said. "We look at the issues, disparities between access to resources and the different ways communities and various cultural communities here respond to mental health."

Creating Community Solutions: Part of a National Conversation on Mental Health

When: 9:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Sacramento Convention Center, 1400 J St.

Cost: Free. Register at www.creatingcommunitysolutions.org.

Information: Tom Campbell (206) 919-7449 or

tcampbell@americaspeaks.org.

Call The Bee's Morgan Searles, (916) 321-1102. Follow her in Twitter @morgansearles.

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