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County Forum Will Discuss Mental Health

The recent school shooting in Newtown, CT, has brought to light the need to identify and treat those in the community with mental illness.

A forum to discuss mental health initiatives will be held in February 2013 to provide updates on what improvements can be made in Anne Arundel County, including adding school resource officers to more public schools.

The county released the following information on Tuesday:

County Executive John R. Leopold today announced that he will host a forum to discuss mental health initiatives in the wake of the Connecticut shooting and other tragedies across the nation.

“Mental health is a key piece in our discussion about how to prevent
these terrible events, which often a perpetrated by a lone gunman who goes unnoticed until the unthinkable happens,” County Executive Leopold said. “We can do more as a community to stop these ticking time bombs before they explode.”

The forum will be held at Anne Arundel Community College on February 12th in the Cade Building, Room 219, from 9 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

The panel will revisit topics discussed at a forum the County Executive initiated on mental health two years ago. Experts will evaluate what progress has been made in identifying and treating mental illness and identify persistent gaps.

The County has taken several steps to strengthen mental illness and public safety initiatives, including increased funding for the Anne Arundel County Mental Health Agency and the Crisis Response System, expanding the School Resource Officer Initiative to middle schools and hiring a Mental Health Services director at the Jennifer Road Detention Center. The County created a middle school parenting program within the Parenting Center at Anne Arundel Community College to help train parents identify warning signs for bullying, suicide prevention and gang activity.

Panelists representing the following agencies will be invited to serve on the panel: Anne Arundel County Mental Health Agency, Inc., Anne Arundel County Police, Anne Arundel County Department of Health, Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore-Washington Medical Center, Anne Arundel County Detention Services, Anne Arundel County Crisis Response System, Anne Arundel Medical Center and Anne Arundel Community College.

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