Montgomery County to Host Online Annual Spring Forum Focusing on Access to Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Treatment on Thursday, May 18

by Patrick Herron

Per Montgomery County: The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will host its annual mental health and substance use disorder spring forum from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, May 18. “Overcoming Disparities and Barriers to Treatment for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder” is a free event that will focus on treatment access within underserved communities and will include a track for adults and a concurrent track for youth, planned by members of the County’s Youth Ambassador Program.  The forum will be hosted online.

Youth will participate in youth-led sessions, exploring ways to help their peers or themselves access support for mental health or substance use disorders. Youth participants will then rejoin the adults in the main Zoom room so all attendees can ask questions during a live Q&A panel.  The event will conclude with links to various resources for mental health and substance use prevention, intervention and treatment. Students who attend for the full two-hour event will receive SSL hours.

The emcee for the forum will be Jennifer Grinnell, director of education for EveryMind, Inc., and a member of the County’s Mental Health Advisory Council.
Speakers for the adult portion of the forum will be:

  • Billina R. Shaw, senior medical advisor with the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
  • Beth Tabachnik, manager of Montgomery County’s Crisis Center.

The moderator for the youth panel will be Ben E. Stevenson II, the prevention and harm reduction manager with DHHS’ Behavioral Health and Crisis Services.   The event is co-sponsored by the County’s Alcohol and Other Drug Addiction Advisory Council, Mental Health Advisory Council and Citizen’s Review Panel for Children. Those interested in participating should register here.  Login information will be provided after registration.

Anyone who needs accommodations to attend the event (American Sign Language or language interpretation) should contact Diane Lininger at diane.lininger@montgomerycountymd.gov.  The deadline to request accommodations is Monday, May 15.

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