3-part series to educate about mental illness

Krystle Wagner • Jan 3, 2019 at 12:00 PM

Speakers will discuss a variety of mental health topics throughout January at The Momentum Center for Social Engagement in Grand Haven.

“The Winter Series: Exploring Mental Illnesses” will take place at 6 p.m. the following Mondays: Jan. 14, 21 and 28.

There will be a question-and-answer session following each speaker.

When the three-part series was offered in August 2017, it was a popular series, said Extended Grace Executive Director Barbara Lee VanHorssen. The 2018 series focused on addiction.

VanHorssen said the series provides a good opportunity for people to ask questions.

“It’s a safe environment where people are welcomed just as they are,” she said.

On Jan. 14, Michele VanderSchel, of Ottawa County Mental Health, will discuss the symptoms and treatments for schizophrenia. VanderSchel, who oversees treatment programs for adults with mental illness and services for adults with use disorders, will also discuss the impact substance abuse has on schizophrenia.

Brett VanTol, a psychologist with Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, will discuss bipolar and depression on Jan. 21. VanTol said he plans to provide education and information about supporting someone living with depression or a mood disorder.

Following his presentation during the first series, VanTol said there were questions that led to an additional session about supporting family members.

“There’s a lot of need and interest,” he said.

On Jan. 28, Kayla Moore, a clinical social worker with Mercy Health Physician Partners, will discuss panic and anxiety disorders. Moore said that nobody is immune to experiencing mental health issues. She noted that anxiety and panic can be treated without medication, and she hopes to provide people with the tools, skills and resources to help.

VanTol said he believes the winter series is helping promote an ongoing conversation about mental health.

“A big goal for the winter series, in general, is normalizing the conversation,” VanHorssen said.

The center is located at 714 Columbus Ave. in Grand Haven’s Centertown district.

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