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Northwest Kansas experts help those with mental health problems

BIRD CITY, Kan. – (Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019)

The public is invited to participate in a Mental Health Forum from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, Dec. 5, at the Bird City American Legion Hall, 107 W. Bressler.

Anyone from the entire northwest Kansas region who is interested should attend, especially school faculty, administration and counselors, clergy, healthcare and mental health professionals, criminal justice and legal representatives, and community members with personal connections.

“Northwest Kansas professionals whose work aligns with mental health issues, as well as people who are affected personally by mental disease, are encouraged to attend,” says co-facilitator Travis Rickford of LiveWell Northwest Kansas in Colby. “This meeting continues a three-part series to better understand issues related to mental health in northwest Kansas.”

Rickford adds that attending the first meeting is not a requirement for taking part in the Dec. 5 workshop.

The purpose of the forum is to highlight problems related to mental health in northwest Kansas. Attendants will learn about mental health issues and solutions will be identified to address regional concerns.

“At the first meeting, we discussed things like isolation, education, and access to care, which are all factors that we can improve upon,” said Rickford. “We also discussed workforce discrepancies and reimbursement mechanisms.

“At our next meeting, we’ll recap and break down those general themes which will allow us to link problems with specific, manageable action plans.”

“Mental health, addiction, incarceration, poverty and trauma are discussed frequently, but no clear collaborative steps toward addressing the issues have been taken,” admits Rickford. “We hope that by coming together, we can build regional understanding and implement collaborative efforts to truly bring about change. Only by gathering people of all sectors of our community can we hope to overcome the unique struggles of mental health.”

LiveWell Northwest Kansas is one of three organizations sponsoring the event. Funded by the Kansas Health Foundation as part of Health Equity Initiatives in northwest Kansas, LiveWell comes together with the Cheyenne County Health Department and Rawlins County Health Department to host this 3-part series of meetings.

“LiveWell is honored to collaborate with the public health departments of Cheyenne and Rawlins County,” said Rickford, “and we are excited to bring together the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, health care providers, residents and other organizations to address this important issue and get to the root of the problem. “

“We are focused on building momentum to take action.”

RSVP to the event by emailing one of three program coordinators: (Colby), (Bird City), or (Atwood).

The third meetings will be Jan. 7, 2020, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Bird City Legion Hall.

More information can be found online at

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