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Virtual panel planned by NAMI Collier County on the effects of COVID-19 on mental health

NAMI Collier County is holding a virtual expert panel discussion on the effects of COVID-19 on mental health from noon to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 15. The panel will offer a unique look at how the pandemic has impacted those affected by mental illnesses from various perspectives, ranging from law enforcement officials and addiction professionals to children and adult mental health professionals.

The panel discussion, planned from noon to 1 p.m., will be followed by questions and answers from 1 to 1:30 p.m. It is designed for anyone interested in understanding the current and potential mental health impact of the pandemic, particularly on people already dealing with mental health issues.

Panel speakers include:

  • Leslie Weidenhammer, Collier County Sheriff’s Office Mental Health Bureau
  • Tiffany Scott, LCSW with Elite DNA Therapy Services
  • Wilbur C. Smith, CEO and co-founder of Calusa Recovery
  • Paul Simeone, VP and Medical Director of Behavioral Health at Lee Health
  • Amanda Ferguson, Baker Act coordinator at Park Royal Hospital

“As mental health service providers, we’ve seen the impact of COVID-19 on our clients for the past six months,” said Pamela Baker, CEO of NAMI Collier County. “Working collaboratively with others in the community, we want to be proactive about helping the community and anticipating the additional impacts of the pandemic for people with mental health diagnoses and their family. Helping this population helps the whole community.”

To register for the panel, please visit: ParkRoyalHospital.com/Events. The seminar is free, but donations to support the mission of NAMI Collier County are welcome at NAMICollier.org/Donate.

About NAMI Collier County

The mission of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Collier County is to provide advocacy, education, public awareness and support so that all individuals and families affected by mental illnesses can improve the quality of their lives. Education and services to help individuals living with mental illness along with their families, caregivers and health care providers are free of charge to the community. For adults, NAMI Collier County provides a statewide WarmLine; the Sarah Ann Drop-In Center, where persons with a diagnosis may visit five days a week with classes, support groups, daily activities, lunches and outings; Self-Directed Care; Peer Support programs, supportive housing, outreach, education and support groups. The HUGS (Health Under Guided Systems) program has System Navigators who provide community-based mental health screenings and early identification of Collier County children who have current, or potential for, developing behavioral health problems in order to connect them to resources. Every other month, NAMI trains 30 members of law enforcement and related agencies to be members of CIT (Crisis Intervention Team), providing information about mental illness and how to de-escalate potentially deadly confrontations. NAMI continuously provides over $30,000 in financial help for psychiatric evaluations and emergency prescriptions, shelter and food each year. NAMI depends on individual and corporate donations. For information, visit namicollier.org or call 239-260-7300.

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