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UTA hosts a community conversation on Youth Mental Health and Substance Use - open to the public

Mental health stat

Half of all mental health issues start by age 14, and 75 percent are diagnosed by age 24, yet mental health remains a taboo in the public even though suicide is the second leading cause of death for 10- to- 24- year olds.

Because of this, UTA’s School of Social Work, Tarrant County MHMR and a Texas Health and Human Services statewide public awareness initiative, Speak Your Mind Texas, are collaborating to host a public forum on the importance of early intervention for mental health.

“This needs to change. We wouldn’t hesitate to seek treatment for stomach pain or a heart problem,” said Sherry Bryson, coordinator to the School of Social Work’s Center for Addiction and Recovery Studies. “We need to celebrate the lived experience of those in recovery and living with chronic illness, and offer encouragement and hope to those still in pain.

Mental health stat

About 1.5 million Americans aged 18 and older with serious mental illnesses misused opioids during 2015, according to a new spotlight report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

“Everyone has experienced, on some level, the impact of living with a mental health or substance use disorder. Whether it is a personal experience or the experience of a friend or family member, we have seen the struggles,” Bryson said. “Even though science and research has provided us with evidence of the disease process and improved treatments, many suffer in shame because of the stigma.”

Leaders in the field will talk about how to recognize warning signs, what actions to take, and available resources at the public event, “Mental Health and Substance Use Community Conversation,” 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7, at UTA’s Central Library, Sixth-Floor Atrium at 702 Planetarium Place in Arlington.

Mental health stat

Bryson will emcee the event, which will feature refreshments, videos, and an interactive conversation. Continuing education unit (CEU) credits (2.00) are available to those with their licenses.

Scott Ryan, Dean and Jenkins Garrett Professor to the School of Social Work, will offer opening remarks.

“Early-intervention is crucial to preventing co-morbidity of substances abuse,” said Jan Finch, UTA social work assistant professor, who helped bring the event to the campus.

Event flyer




Continuing Education Unit credit link

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Warning Signs of Suicide

If someone you know is showing one or more of the following behaviors, he or she may be thinking about suicide. Don’t ignore these warning signs. Get help immediately.

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings


Campus Resources:

UTA Counseling and Psychological Services
MAVS Talk 24-hour crisis line: 817-272-8255
To make an appointment: 817-272-3671
8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays

Community Resources:
MHMR ICare Crisis Hotline
Emergency mental health support, information and referrals
24 hours a day, 365 days a year
If you have a medical emergency, call 911.

Veterans 24-hour crisis help
Press “1” or Text: 838255
Dallas County/North Texas
Behavioral Health Authority Crisis Line: 1-866-260-8000 

Campaign Resources
Speak Your Mind Texas campaign materials and information on how to host a Community Conversation in your area are available for download.

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