Mental health professionals are gathering in Ames today for their annual conference. Margaret Stout of the Iowa chapter of the National Alliance of the Mentally Ill is one of those taking part in the conference.She says the purpose is to provide educational training for those who work in the field and for families to learn ways to cope better with mental illness. The director of the Iowa Department of Human Services is one of the speakers for the conference. She says they message he’ll deliver is what’s on the horizon for mental health treatment in the state. Stout says all providers are worried about the budget situation and what that will mean to them. Not only is the conference this week, but it’s also “Mental Health Awareness Week.” She says it was accidental that the annual conference fell during the week to recognize mental health. Stout says suicide prevention and bipolar disorder are the two issues being highlighted during the week. She says suicide and mental illness continue to be a problem. She says there are so many young people that’re at risk of suicide when they suffer from mental illness. She says people often times don’t recognize when people are going to take their own life because they can’t cope. She says the problem of bipolar disorder has gotten more attention lately. She says for many years it was called manic depression. She says you hear more about it now because more and more people are getting successful treatment for the disease. The conference runs today and tomorrow in Ames.
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