Mental health conference to feature keynote speaker Joan Becker

Event designed to reduce stigma, raise awareness

The Hamilton County Mental Health Learning Community will host a Mental Health Awareness Day on Friday, May 25 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Webster City.

The day-long event will begin at 8 a.m. with registration. The sessions run from 8:30 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. and will feature a number of presentations throughout the day.

Peggy Huppert, Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Health of Iowa, and State Rep. Lisa Heddens, the executive director of NAMI of Central Iowa, will give a joint presentation.

The keynote speaker will be Joan Becker. Joan Becker is the author of “Sentenced to Life: Mental Illness, Tragedy, and Transformation.” The book tells the story of the Becker family’s struggle to find mental health help for their son, Mark who is serving a life sentence for the shooting Aplington-Parkersburg football coach Ed Thomas.

Other presentations are expected to be presented by YSS, PowerUp YOUth and Senior Life Solutions.

“We are really focusing on all ages, from youth to seniors,” said Carrie Hisler, Service Coordinator.

for Central Iowa Community Services. “We’re trying to reduce the stigma and bring awareness to the community,” she said.

In past years, the People to People conference brought the community together to learn more about mental health and mental illness. Hisler said the new conference this month is a way to bring the focus to mental health issues.

The conference is offered free of charge to the community and area providers. Continuing education credit is available for nurses and social workers.

Hisler suggested that those wishing to attend pre-register before Friday, May 18 as seating is limited and a head count is needed for the lunch. To register, contact Hisler at 832-9550 or email