The Bridge Forum Announces ‘Mental Health’ Event to go Beyond the Stigma in Arizona Community

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Community Leaders in Government and Healthcare Join Forces for National Suicide Prevention Month

The HeroZona Foundation is excited to announce a special segment of the Bridge Forum, “Mental Health”, during which a panel of Arizona leaders in government and healthcare will discuss mental health issues plaguing the state and what actions can be taken to help community members struggling to access the resources they need. The event will take place on Tuesday, September 29 from 8 to 10 a.m. at Travis L. Williams American Legion Post 65 (1624 E. Broadway Rd.) in Phoenix. The invitation-only event is supported by Vitanya Brain Performance, Maricopa County, Greater Phoenix Leadership, Greater Phoenix Economic Council, Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and the Travis L. Williams American Legion Post 65. The forum will also be livestreamed to the public at Facebook.com/HeroZonaOrg/Live.

Event panelists include Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Chief of Custody and Detention Barry Roska, Maricopa County Superior Court Presiding Judge Joseph Welty, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment Systems’ State Suicide Prevention Specialist Kelli Donley Williams, Phoenix VA Medical Center Chief Social Worker Debbie Dominick and Teen Lifeline Clinical Director Nikki Kontz.

“Mental and emotional health is a topic that HeroZona has worked very closely on with veteran and first responder communities, both disproportionately affected by issues like depression, PTSD and suicide,” says Alan “AP” Powell, Chairman of AP & Associates - Strategic Alliances and U.S. Army Desert-Storm Veteran.

“We appreciate that Mr. Powell remains available, as our founder, to guide us as we continue our 2020 Series,” Ron Williams, President of the HeroZona Foundation said. “The objective of this discussion is to explore what actions can be taken by those in power to create accessible solutions for all Arizonans.”

The event will be moderated by retired Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice W. Scott Bales. Bales is currently the chair of the American Bar Association’s Council of Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar. He is also a recipient of the Richard W. Holmes Award of Merit.

Also in attendance will be Arizona State Senator for District 27 Rebecca Rios, Arizona State Representative for District 25 and Speaker of the House Russell “Rusty” Bowers, Maricopa County Supervisor for District 3 Bill Gates and Arizona Department of Economic Security Assistant Director Leah Landrum Taylor.

The most recent Bridge Forum, “One Team,” took place in Phoenix on September 8, where major Arizona sports leaders including Arizona Cardinals Owner Michael J. Bidwill, Arizona Coyotes President & CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez, Phoenix Suns President & CEO Jason Rowley, Arizona Diamondbacks Vice President of People and Culture Joe Walsh, Phoenix Raceway President Julie Giese and Arizona State University Athletic Director Ray Anderson discussed social justice activism in sports.

The Bridge Forum “Time for Change” part one occurred on Tuesday, June 23 at the Travis L. Williams American Legion Post 65 and focused on current events within the black community and law enforcement to examine how communities can work together with police to create equality in the nation. The series’ second and third segments took place on Tuesday, July 14 at the W Scottsdale and Tuesday, August 11 at the Sheraton Mesa Hotel at Wrigleyville West and focused on similar topics. The Bridge Forum, “Next Generation”, happened on Tuesday, August 25 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Phoenix Tempe and highlighted young leaders from various public & private Arizona organizations advocating for change.

The first four Bridge Forum “Time for Change” parts included panelists such as Superintendent for the Roosevelt School District No. 66 Quintin Boyce, Arizona State Representative from District 27 Reginald Bolding, Founder of Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles Larry White, Police Chief of the City of Scottsdale Alan G. Rodbell, Chief Special Agent of Attorney General Arizona Reggie Grigsby, President of East Valley NAACP Roy M. Tatem Jr., National Forum for Black Public Administrators Central Arizona Chapter President Travis L. Cutright, Mesa Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Dr. James Driscoll, West Mesa Precinct Judge Elaissia Sears and many other notable leaders.

In January 2018, the Scottsdale Police Department implemented 29 new initiatives from the Scottsdale Bridge Forum 2017, which included establishing sufficient resources for police personnel dealing with trauma, establishing dialogue opportunities with under-served communities, enhancing engagement with the community’s youth and identifying ways to address the needs of the community related to behavioral health.

For more information about the Bridge Forum and to stream its upcoming event on Tuesday, September 29, visit Facebook.com/HeroZonaOrg.

About the HeroZona Foundation
The HeroZona Foundation is a non-profit organization that empowers Heroes in the community through entrepreneurship, employment, and education. The group works with veterans, first responders and those that bring social good to future generations and under-served communities. The foundation’s mission is to create opportunities for the brave men and women who serve their country, and community, every day. For more information, please visit HeroZona.org.

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Ivana Morales