SEARCY Mental-health issues can affect everyone, and the Dr. Robert E. Elliot Foundation officials know that down to their core. To continue helping the community, the foundation will host its 17th-annual public-education seminar, Understanding Depression, set for June 22.
“Depression and other forms of mental illness are very treatable, and we just need to get people the help they need,” said Kimberly Brackins, executive director of the Dr. Robert E. Elliot Foundation.
The seminar has six speakers who will discuss a variety of topics, including opioid use disorder and mindfulness and self-compassion. One of the speakers, Leigh Anne Bennett, is the daughter of Dr. Robert E. Elliot. Bennett, who is an honorary board member of the foundation, will speak on postpartum depression.
After Elliot took his own life in 2001, his family created the foundation to help others so that “this tragedy never happens to another family.” The foundation helps people and their communities through various programs, including the annual public-education seminar.
The seminar was approved for six continuing-education hours for social workers, counselors, pharmacy workers, nurses and teachers. This is the first time in many years and only the second time during this event that the credit has been approved for nurses, Brackins said.
The seminar has a $50 registration fee for individuals and a $250 registration fee for booths — two members of the booth will have access to the seminar. This includes a lunch, the speaker series and the continuing-education credits. The preferred registration deadline is Saturday, but registration will continue until 8:30 a.m. the day of the event. The seminar will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. June 22 at the Hubach Conference Center in Searcy.
According to the foundation’s mission statement, “The purpose of this foundation is to educate and be a resource for those in need of help. Whether it be you personally, a family member, a friend or an acquaintance, we are here to help.”
The annual seminar is one of the ways in which the foundation raises money for its various programs, such as free depression screenings, posters, a resource line and support groups.
The foundation currently has a Survivors of Suicide (S.O.S.) support group that has been running for years to help families, friends and the community with the loss of someone who has died by suicide. S.O.S. meets at 7 p.m. every first Tuesday of the month in the Willow Room at Unity Health in Searcy.
In July, the foundation plans to start a second monthly group, a depression support group, which will be run by a trained mental-health professional. In these meetings, the professional will discuss various topics on how to cope with depression, including information on nutrition and how to take medication properly, which will then be followed by a time to share or ask questions. The group will meet at 7 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month in the Willow Room at Unity Health in Searcy.
“S.O.S. is for survivors, for people who have lost someone to suicide,” Brackins said. “Our depression group, which is not intended to take the place of counseling, is a place for people to come who are going through depression or for people who need help learning how to support them. Even though there is counseling and things like that, sometimes you just need to meet with people who have been through what you’ve been through.”
For more information about the seminar, visit www.elliottfoundation.com; mail a request to P.O. Box 485, Searcy, AR 72145; email the foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org; or call (501) 278-4357.
The foundation asks that anyone who is experiencing depression or contemplating suicide, or anyone who knows someone who is, to seek help immediately by calling (800) 592-9503 or (800) 273-TALK.