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A Kansas City conference is bringing together experts to break the stigma of mental health

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Sign that reads "Cerner" in blue letters sits in front of and below a large, modern, multi-story building in background that also has the "Cerner" blue sign on top of the building.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Dozens of speakers will gather at the Oracle Cerner Innovations Campus to discuss mental health during the annual Mental Health Kansas City Conference 2023.

Kansas City is hosting a mental health conference open to the public focusing on education, innovations, recovery and more. Speakers from two sessions share how they're focusing on mental health in the region.

May is Mental Health Awareness month, and according to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), "1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience mental illness each year."

The annual Mental Health Kansas City Conference 2023 is open to the public and brings together subject-matter experts from across the region. Clinicians, educators, human resources, community health experts and more will host 54 sessions relating to mental health topics such as suicide, stigma, children's health, psychosis and resilience.

Maria Loconsolo, co-presenter of the session "Understanding Early Psychosis: A Hopeful Approach To Treatment," says that awareness of mental health issues has improved "but it's still a massive issue."

Alicia Smith, a licensed master social worker and founder of Advantageous Afford, said caregivers and parents can sometimes struggle to navigate the school system, an issue she'll address in a presentation called "Here We Go With This S**t!" Advocating For Equity In Schools."

Smith hopes to provide advice to help families build relationships and collaboration with educators so the "student is having the best experiences they can within their educational system."

Mental Health Kansas City Conference 2023, 9 - 4 p.m., Thursday, May 11 and 9 - 1 p.m., Friday, May 12 at Oracle Cerner Innovations Campus, 8779 Hillcrest Road, Kansas City, Missouri 64138. Tickets are $50. Registration required. A full list of the sessions can be found here.

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