Rural Mental Health Forum to be Held

Nursing Department, Hunt Regional Healthcare, COHES partner to hold forum



Christian Aleman, Staff Writer

The Nursing Department at A&M-Commerce, in conjunction with Hunt Regional Healthcare and the College of Education and Human Services, will host the first Rural Mental Health Forum on Oct. 19 in the Student Center conference rooms.

“After the first meeting we had, President Keck asked Hunt Regional Healthcare to join us, and they are now co-sponsoring this forum,” Director of the Nursing Department, Dr. Barbara Tucker said.

The forum will be from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will consist of speakers throughout the day and close with a discussion panel on mental health.

“We’re focusing on depression, suicide, and rural mental health this time,” the director said. “It is part of what we felt was needed at the university.”

Speakers will include psychologists from various backgrounds, the past president of the National Association for Rural Mental Health, and a speaker from the nonprofit organization Active Minds.

“We hope that the forum will become an annual event,” Assistant Professor, Dr. Monica Tenhunen said.

Active Minds is dedicated to using the student voice to raise mental health awareness among college students, according to the nonprofit’s website. The speaker and student at Pensacola State College, Pablo Campos, will discuss mental health as a university student.

“Mental health is important to the university as we exist in an area that has limited resources and has a population that is at risk,” Tenhunen said.

The forum will be kicked off with a community mental health awareness poster project Oct. 18 in the student center main lobby.

“We have students from the nursing department, social work, psychology, counseling, and health and human performance presenting posters on mental health on Tuesday, the day before the forum,” Tucker said.

There will be different awards for the best projects presented as part of the forum the following day sponsored by the Iota Nu Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing.

The event is free, and students do not have to be present for the whole forum.