Breaking the Silence on Mental Health-An Open Community Meeting

 Stakeholders who care about the state of mental health of Palm Beach County’s adults and youth are invited to participate in an open community meeting scheduled for Friday, November 18, from 8:30 a..m. to 12:30 p.m. Hosted by the newly formed Action Alliance for Mental Health at the District’s Student Intervention Services Office at Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary School, the purpose of the community dialogue is to prompt increased education and awareness of mental health related issues, as well as improved access to mental health resources throughout the county.

The session itinerary includes presentation of a recently signed proclamation from the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners citing 2012 as the Year of Breaking the Silence; remarks from two authors, Dena Foman, Esq., who wrote Only I Can Define Me and Jasira McDowell, Ms. Palm Beach County Plus, who wrote Bruised Kisses; and a “call to action” from Chief Deputy Michael Gauger from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. A community action planning session titled How to Break the Silence, Educate, and Build Awareness will be co-facilitated by Barbara Cox Gerlock and Marilyn Schiavo.

This event, and the Proclamation for 2012 as the Year of Breaking the Silence are the result of the combined efforts of Boca Raton’s Promise, the Boynton Beach Mental Health Initiative, and the newly formed Action Alliance For Mental Health.  Collected data indicates that more than 270,000 adults in Palm Beach County are afflicted with mental illness, and more than half have two or more conditions simultaneously. In addition, it is projected  that 21% of children and youth have a mental illness. 

Student Intervention Services Assistant Director Kim Williams said Alliance members are hopeful about the initiative. “Our expectation is that this opening dialogue will promote awareness and understanding, as well as encourage early detection and treatment.”  To register, call 561-955-5460. For further details about the initiative, contact Ms. Williams at 561-723-7785 or email