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First annual Washoe County Mental Health Summit (sponsored)


Connect Washoe County hosted a day of education, connection, gratitude, and hope on October 24. Focusing on local youth mental health information, the day included current data and trends and panel discussions on prevention, crisis response, legislative updates, and more. This full day was designed to bring mental health providers and caring adults together surrounding the importance of youth mental health.

The summit included opening remarks from Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve; Keynote from Dr. Steve Nicholas, MFT, NCC, and Author of Living Ideation; the State of Pediatrics from Dr. Kris Deeter, Physician in-Chief Renown Children’s Hospital and Chair of Pediatrics, UNR Med; and, closing from Dr. Stephanie Woodard, DHHS Senior Advisor on Behavioral Health at the State of Nevada.

The facilitator for the event was Punam Mathur, Executive Director of the Elaine P. Wynn & Family Foundation and she operates her own business as a speaker. Within a lengthy list of volunteer and service roles, Mathur has received appointments to statewide leadership positions by the last four Governors in her home state of Nevada. She is a champion and advocate for children and public education.

The summit was planned and coordinated by Connect Washoe County, an initiative of The Children’s Cabinet, Renown Health, State Office of Suicide Prevention, and the Washoe County School District. This initiative started in August of 2021 with a focus on youth mental health and suicide prevention to better support youth and families through community collaboration.

Since its creation, the collaboration has made great strides on its goal for year one to strengthen community linkages, by creating an accessible directory for families in Washoe County that is hosted by The Washoe County Children’s Mental Health Consortium (WCCMHC).

A recent report released by Suicide Awareness Voices of Education that ranks states on the prevalence of suicide death shows Nevada improved from 7th to 12th. According to Nevada’s Office of Suicide Prevention, while the country has seen an increase in suicides over the past few years, Nevada has consistently held steady or decreased its numbers. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for people aged 8 to 17 and 18 to 24 years old.

“Youth suicide is preventable when the caring adults around youth are connected, engaged, and listening to the voices of young people,” said Jacquelyn Kleinedler, Director of Behavioral Health Programs for The Children’s Cabinet. “The latest data is a promising indicator for us to keep up our efforts. Protecting our youth requires us to continue comprehensive and collaborative teamwork across all partners in Washoe County.”

Families can access the Resource Directory to efficiently find youth behavioral health and wellness resources in Washoe County. CWC leadership believes having all the resources in one place makes it easier for families to access the care they need.

Many providers in Washoe County are invested in working with children, families, and suicide prevention and the Resource Directory is an opportunity to share this investment and strengthen the community network. Hence, CWC and WCCMHC encourage these providers to create a listing and become part of the network of support for families. To do so, providers can access the Provider Support page and walk through the steps on how to create a listing and free account for their organization.

About The Children’s Cabinet

Established in Reno in 1985, The Children’s Cabinet exists to keep children safe and families together by offering services and resources that address unmet needs. The organization represents a unique and effective collaboration between the private sector and public agencies in Nevada. The Children’s Cabinet helps more than 10,000 families annually with a wide range of services: basic needs, child care resources, education, and work experience programs, crisis intervention, and family counseling. As a non-profit agency, The Children’s Cabinet relies on community support to provide programs and services at no charge to children and their families.

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