Summit hopes to change mental health approaches

Experts aim for integrated model that focuses on whole person

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A two-day summit aims to disrupt outdated approaches to mental health by bringing in experts to produce an integrated mental health model that focuses on the whole person.

The National Summit for Mental Health and Mental Fitness: Practical Solutions for Creating a Culture of Peace, hosted by The International Association of Human Values and America Meditates, is July 23-24 at East High School in Denver. The event concludes with a meditation session at City Park.

More than 46 million Americans experience mental illness every given year. If left untreated, those illnesses can cause tremendous suffering to those impacted and their families and cost the U.S. almost $200 billion a year, the news release said.

The summit brings together experts from diverse fields to build a holistic approach for faster interventions, lower-cost treatments and efficient ways to curb violence and crimes through mental health prevention.

Experts will discuss and present integrated strategies that enhance positive emotions, life satisfaction and spirituality while addressing biological, cultural and economic approaches to treating mental health.

“We’re bringing together incredible thought leaders, change makers and influencers to share their gifts, their ideas, their innovation,” Katherine Winter-Sellery, chairwoman of America Meditates and the summit, said in the release. “Never has there been a better time to open the dialogue about critical issues in mental health and collaborate across silos, to build innovative solutions, and to address mental illness and its impact in all sections of society.”

Attendees will hail from multiple professions, backgrounds and parts of the world, providing networking opportunities to contribute to a movement that changes the way we think about and manage mental health in our communities.

Barbara Van Dahlen, founder and president of Give an Hour Psychologist, will open the conference. Van Dahlen is executive director of the task force PREVENTS (President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide) and has been ranked one of the 100 most influential people in the world, according to a news release.

Closing the conference is Marianne Wiliamson, an American author, writer and activist. She also is a presidential candidate for 2020.

Speakers will include Colorado’s own U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, co-chair of the Gun Violence Task Force in Congress.

“This is our opportunity as a community to lead the way for us to be able to model what we can do as a collective to collaboratively support the change that we want and get way upstream on this social situation creating a new social construct — compassion, belonging, and kindness,” Winter-Sellery said in the release.

Tickets for the summit range from $75 to $300. The meditation event is free, but registration is requested and donations are accepted. For more details, to purchase tickets or to register for the meditation event, go to summit.americameditates.org.

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