Mental illness awareness panel scheduled in Parkersburg - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Mental illness awareness panel scheduled in Parkersburg

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PARKERSBURG (KWWL) --  Just over one year ago the town of Parkersburg was on the national stage when head football coach Ed Thomas was shot and killed in the school's locker room.

Mark Becker was found guilty of killing Thomas. During Becker's trial, court psychiatrists testified he suffered from schizophrenia.

Now his mother, Joan Becker, is on a mission to try raise awareness of mental illness.

Tuesday night The National Alliance on Mental Illness and Pathways Behavioral Services will host a panel discussion on mental illness to educate the public.

"I think the public is struggling to understand mental illness," NAMI President Judy Meyers said. "If there are more effective treatments why aren't more people seeking help? What I think the public doesn't understand is that 50 percent of people with schizophrenia like my mother and 40 percent of people with bipolar disorder have an inability to recognize their illness."

Tuesday night's panel will include six different view points on mental illness.

Susan Ehr is a community support service coordinator at Pathways Behavioral Services, Inc.

Lois Fink is a licensed mental health counselor at Pathways.

Kirsten Weaver is a high school senior diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder. Her mother Becky Weaver will also be on the panel.

Ann Meyer is a retired Waterloo police lieutenant who teaches a course about crisis intervention teams.

Rachel Dray has been diagnosed with depression and anxiety and is the mother of a son who has signs of depression and anxiety.

The panel will start at 6:30 at Aplington-Parkersburg High School.

Online Reporter: Nikki Newbrough

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