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The Third Annual Community Behavioral Health Conference: Feb. 28

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The Texoma Behavioral Health Leadership Team (TBHLT) of Grayson County is hosting the third annual Community Behavioral Health Conference (CBHC) in memory of Dr. Don Rodgers. This is a big event that takes tons of work and time to put together. I am going to attend next week on February 28. Please stay tuned for the rest of the story after this important event next week.

Interview With Lisa Sheilds

I do not know anyone unaffected by mental health issues, suicide, and/or substance abuse. You are a mother and mental health awareness advocate. This is your third year of working to make the annual CBHC conference a reality.

What led up to such a big meeting of mental health professionals, legal professionals, ministers, universities, and community members in Grayson County?

Lisa: Mental Health is something that affects everyone. It shows no discrimination. Be it their own personal struggle or that of a loved one, everyone knows someone who is dealing with mental illness. CBHC’s producer, the Texoma Behavioral Health Leadership Team aka TBHLT, was formed with the support of the Texoma Health Foundation and the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute. This began as a community conversation about working towards coordinated, area-wide change. Now, collaboration and communication among disparate groups are leading to more effective care systems and progress towards erasing the stigma of mental health issues.

How did you become involved?

Lisa: I was invited by a friend to attend the first CBHC after I shared my personal testimony of self-medicating my panic disorder with alcohol and almost dying from it on a social media platform. I walked away from the conference with great hope for what was transpiring in our area and a lot of information I hadn’t known about prior to attending. Then in 2018, I was invited to share my story during the event’s segment titled “Our Own Backyard”. Again, the conference did not disappoint, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it in one way or another from then on.

How important is faith and ministry in taking care of a community’s mental health needs?

Lisa: This is actually a topic we will be discussing during the “Our Faith and Mental Health” panel, this year. It will bring perspective from varied backgrounds and should be extremely interesting and informative.

How much attendance do you expect from community members and laypersons?

Lisa: I am not sure of the split, but just by general knowledge based on the number of those attending compared to the number of mental health professionals in our area, many who attend are just people like me with an interest in educating themselves on such an important issue.

Drug and alcohol abuse and mental health issues go hand in hand. Suicide prevention among youth is extremely important. Suicide ideation is also affected by substance abuse. How does this conference tackle these issues?

Lisa: This is such an important topic and they do often go hand in hand. It will be touched on multiple times during the conference. We focus on teen suicide when Vanita Halliburton with the Grant Halliburton Foundation presents, “The Struggle is Real: Youth Depression and Suicide”.

I see that you have raised $60,000 for this year’s conference. The speaker's fees, promotional costs, and service personnel add up. When do you begin your fundraising campaign?

Lisa: I believe seeds are planted during the conference. People will ask to sponsor after attending, but we don’t begin asking right after the conference.

Why the $20.00 tickets? Why should community members spend that much to attend this event?

Lisa: The conference is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Attendees gain an important education on mental health issues and can network with mental health professionals. Lunch is included along with a t-shirt and lots of door prizes. Mental health education can be fun!

What are community members going to take home with them after the conference?

Lisa: The opportunities to find help for families and individuals are invaluable. If someone needs help with a mental health issue, they can find the information they are seeking through meeting the professionals dedicated to serving our community at this conference. 

Continuing Education

Licensed social workers and licensed professional counselors in Texas can earn 6 continuing education units by attending this conference. Licensed social workers and licensed marriage and family counselors can earn 3 continuing education units in Oklahoma.

Event Details

CBHC 2019 is an opportunity for community members, healthcare workers, and law enforcement to meet together to support one another, network, and work to strengthen the mental health journey in Grayson County. This is an event for licensed professional counselors, licensed social workers, educators, health care, legal professionals, government and law enforcement officials, private industry leaders, policymakers, anyone who has a loved one with mental health needs, and anyone who is interested in bringing positive change to Grayson County.


Keynote Speaker: Candy Finnigan, author, interventionist and recovery addiction specialist regularly seen on A&E’s Intervention.

Dan Powers: Collin County Children’s Advocacy Center, Child Abuse, Mental Health and Hope.

Vanita Halliburton: The Struggle is Real: Youth Depression and Suicide.

Ginger Nye: Director of the Center for Community & Regional Development Development/Institutional Advancement.

Steven O’Day: President, Austin College Nate Pike, Chair CAC of Grayson County.

Brett Graham: Past Chair, Texoma Health Foundation.

State Representative Reggie Smith: Mental Health Legislative Update

Sheriff Tom Watt: Grayson County

Zach Flores: Sherman Police Chief

Mental Health and Faith Panel:

Pastor John Williams: Austin College

Rev. Chris Dowd: First United Methodist Church

Dr. Bharathy Sundaram: Texoma Neurology Associates

Dr. Randal Unsell: TMC Behavioral Health Center

Location and Times:

7:30AM-4PM February 28th

Texoma Event Center Hilton Garden Inn 5015 US-75, Denison, TX 75020

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at 

Lunch and a t-shirt will be provided.


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