Life is challenging enough without having to keep secrets. But that's exactly what people suffering from depression, anxiety, attention-deficit disorder, bipolar disorder, and many other conditions are forced to do to avoid being judged by their peers. A conference being held in Brewer this weekend hopes to stop the stigma.

The Mental Health Awareness Conference will feature Dr. Tom Jensen, M.D., Medical Director for the National Bipolar Foundation. He's a 1982 graduate of the University of San Diego with a degree in chemistry and from the UCLA school of medicine in 1986. Dr. Jensen is board certified in child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry. Additionally, he is board certified in the relatively new specialty of Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry, being the only Child Psychiatrist with the qualification on the West Coast.

Participants will learn about a variety of topics and hopefully leave with a better understanding about the conditions and what can be done to treat them.

Topics include:

  • Depression and Suicide - Participants will become familiar with the diagnosis of major depression, modes of treatment, suicide risk factors, and how to recognize teens at risk
  • Anxiety and Comorbid ADHD - Participants will become familiar with the various anxiety disorders, modes of treatment, and medications used to treat anxiety and ADHD together
  • Childhood Bipolar Disorder - Participants will become familiar with the diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, modes of treatment, challenges in treating depressed individuals, and the new label for chronically irritable children who do not meet the criteria for Bipolar Disorder.

The Mental Health Awareness Conference will be held from 9am to Noon on Saturday, October 4th at Machias Savings Bank, 581 Wilson Street in Brewer. Doors open at 8:45 for registration and breakfast. There is no cost to attend but there will be a collection of non-perishable food items for the Brewer Area Food Pantry.

Seating is limited, so call Tammy at 299-6855 or Kayla at 825-4108 to preregister. Organizers invite you to stand together to Stop the Stigma surrounding Mental Health. Together, we can hold the hands of students, patients, clients, family members, and friends as they step out of the dark and into the light!