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Rising Awareness On The Direct Link Between Mental Health Disorders and Substance Abuse


On September 6th and 7th, Big Sky Behavioral Health will be hosting a Summit Conference to address the direct linking between childhood trauma and substance abuse. The event will take place on the Western Campus at the University of Montana.

Speakers include: Jessie Close, Eric Arzubi, Billings Clinic Department of Psychiatry Chairman; Malcolm Horn, Rimrock Foundation Director of Learning and Supervision; Daniel Nauts, Recovery Center Missoula Director and Erin Butts, Great Falls Public Schools Student Mental Health Coordinator.

“All are welcome and we encourage community members to attend who would like to become more trauma-informed and enhance their insight regarding mental health issues,” said Jerry Girard, event chairman, student counseling director at the University of Montana Western and substance abuse counselor.

The event will provide lots of vital educational information regarding the topic. Those who are interested or effected by mental health disorders or substance abuse will find much value in attending this Big Sky Summit.

“We wanted to put together a regional event that would attract not only people from Dillon, but other areas, as well,” Girard said. “We have people coming from Idaho, Missoula, Boulder, Virginia City, Helena and Spokane. They are mostly mental health professionals, but we do have some primary care providers and medical staff coming and some educators. We want to have an event that’s not just for mental health people, as it is appropriate and attractive for all those other professionals, too.”

Martinell said that substance abuse and mental health disorder effects many people not only in this community, but across our nation as well.

Jessie Close will be "highlighting" the speakers at the event. She suffers from Bipolar disorder. Her son, Calen Pick, has recently been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. Jessie's sister, Glenn Close has become a "mental health education champion". This family, effected by these disorders has been very strong through it all. They have taken action on raising awareness and educating people all over the country. Now traveling on a public speaking traveling circuit, Jessie and her son help people who suffer from mental health disorders and substance abuse issues.

They have created a website to support the cause and continue to raise awareness:

www. bringchange2mind.org

Undergraduate attendees of the event will be able to recieve one credit for the education they will receive there for a simple fee of $115.

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