Bullying, mental health and opportunities for those with disabilities were spotlighted when the Gulf Coast Center (GCC) and National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Gulf Coast partnered to offer the Pursuit of Wellness and Recovery for Youth Conference, at College of the Mainland (COM) Friday, May 9.

The event was held in honor of Child Mental Health Awareness Week and provided families, professionals, educators and the community with an opportunity to learn about specialty services provided by the GCC Wellness and Recovery Clinic for Youth and NAMI Gulf Coast educational programs and services. The conference also highlighted information on local mental health and school programs as well as provided an opportunity to interact with professionals in the mental health field. 

The inaugural event was held at College of the Mainland.

"I want to thank College of the Mainland, especially Vice President of Institutional Advancement Mary Ann Amelang and her staff, for their incredible support of our conference," said Jan Melis NAMI Gulf Coast Director of Education and Support. 

 More than 50 attendees were at the conference, which was made possible by the event's central location.

"Having such great facilities available enabled us to have a wide range of participants attend at no charge, and the staff did an amazing job accommodating us as our attendance rose," she said.  

“NAMI Gulf Coast is an organization that grew out of a parent’s devastation of a major mental illness diagnosis of her son," explained COM Vice President of Institutional Advancement Mary Ann Amelang. "The organization fills a gap for the relatives of loved ones with mental illness by providing support groups, education and advocacy. 

"Educational institutions nationwide are struggling with how to recognize certain behaviors in students that point to a possible mental illness," she added. "Early intervention is the key to the success of recovery. It is critical that we have organizations such as NAMI Gulf Coast and the Gulf Coast Center available in Galveston County to serve our students and their families."

"I cannot say enough about the collaboration between NAMI, COM and GCC," Melis added. "Collaboration helps increase awareness. Collaboration makes great things possible."