Becker family promotes awareness of mental health - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Becker family promotes awareness of mental health

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PARKERSBURG (KWWL) -- It's mental illness awareness week and the mother of the man who shot and killed Aplington Parkersburg coach Ed Thomas is on a mission to do just that.

The Becker family has been in the media a lot over the last year.

Mark Becker is serving mandatory life in prison with no parole.

He was convicted in April of killing Ed Thomas June of 2009.

Becker was diagnosed with schizophrenia but his family did not know what was wrong with him.

As part of that mission to raise awareness Wednesday night Joan Becker, Mark's mother, introduced guests at a mental health panel in Parkersburg.

The panel featured mental health workers, crisis specialists and people living with mental illness.

The goal of the panel to try and raise awareness of mental health issues.

"That was one of our biggest goals," Joan Becker says, "my husband and myself, is to get this awareness out to the people and to the community, to educate them and let them know there is help, there is help out there for them."

Licensed Mental Health Counselor with Pathways Behavioral Services, Scott Dickinson says "A lot of the difficulty people have when they are struggling with mental illnesses are a lack of understanding from the public at large and mainstream public, I think that lack of or that difficulty comes from maybe a little bit of fear."

For more information, please contact the Black County Office for the National Alliance of Mental Illness at 319-235-5263

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