The Sixth Annual Children’s Mental Health Summit, hosted by Canopy Children’s Solutions (Canopy), will take place Wednesday and Thursday, May 8-9, at the Hilton Jackson Hotel in Jackson, Miss.

The theme for this year’s event is Speak Up! Speak Out! Erasing the Stigma of Mental Health. This two-day event will feature a full-day conference on Wednesday, May 8, with a half-day of post-conference breakout sessions on varied topics that affect Mississippi families and children on Thursday, May 9. The conference will feature a host of talented and insightful speakers including Miss Mississippi Asya Branch, Special Agent for the FBI Christopher Freeze, political analyst for NBC News Elise Jordan, Canopy Autism Solutions Director Dr. Jim Moore, former Supreme Court Justice Randy Pierce and Canopy Chief Engagement & Diversity Officer Taheti Watson who will each cover a different element of how stigma impacts our society and how we can overcome the cycle of stigma.

“The stigma tide of mental health is finally turning,” said Canopy CEO John Damon, Ph.D. “This generation of children is demanding it.  Today’s youth are tired of seeing their friends die from suicide, drop out of school because of substance dependence, or fall short of all they were called to be because they failed to receive the help they needed to thrive.  Sadly, 1 in 5 children is struggling with a significant mental health challenge. Even worse, 80% of those children never get the help they need.  The reason is clear – the stigma of mental health has blinded us from treating mental health like we do every other healthcare problem.  This year’s Summit, ‘Speak Up! Speak Out!’ will be a galvanizing event with a cross-section of industry thought leaders who will build momentum to erase the stigma of mental health.  One day, we will no longer need to use the word “mental” to describe health – that tide is turning.”

“One day, we will no longer need to use the word “mental” to describe health.” –John Damon, Ph.D., Canopy CEO

New for 2019, Canopy, in partnership with Mississippi Department of Mental Health, will offer training in Youth Mental Health First Aid. This curriculum is not designed for mental health clinicians but rather designed to provide basic mental health training for teachers, coaches, caregivers, school resource officers and individuals who regularly work with youth. The free training course is made available through the Mental Health Awareness Grant and will qualify for eight hours of continuing education (CE) credit for educators and school resource officers through Jackson State University’s School of Lifelong Learning and the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. This day-long workshop will take place on Thursday, May 9. Space is limited to 30 participants and will be offered on a first come, first served basis; pre-registration through the Children’s Mental Health Summit website is required.

The Summit and post-conference breakout sessions are formatted to address topics beneficial to mental health professionals, social workers, educators and school counselors, parents and foster parents, child advocates, members of the youth criminal justice system and law enforcement, media, and other professionals working with youth. Continuing education credits will be available for social workers, licensed professional counselors, licensed educators and Department of Mental Health-credentialed professionals. Full details regarding CEs are available on the event’s website under the General Information tab.

Registration for Wednesday’s Summit is $100 per participant, which includes the cost of materials, break refreshments, lunch and CEs. Registration for Thursday’s breakout sessions is $50 per participant and includes materials, break refreshments and CEs. Both the Summit and post-conference breakout sessions will begin at 8:00 a.m. with registration opening at 7:00 a.m. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged at www.helpkidsthrive.org.

For complete information on the Children’s Mental Health Summit, including registration, continuing education credits, presenters and information on overnight accommodations, please visit www.helpkidsthrive.org or contact Kym Williams at 601.352.7784.