KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- As one of 10 host sites, Kansas City is taking steps to help the mentally ill in the metro.
Mental illness does not discriminate. It crosses race, gender, age, and economic lines, and also affects thousands across the metro.
Sargent John Bryant, a longtime member of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department, is the father of a son with severe mental illness.
“There are a lot of people out there that don’t have services I do or haven’t been able to access them,” said Bryant.
Bryant has not received special treatment but said rather he just knows what services are available. He is hopeful this conference will make it easier for others to get help. He believes two very important key points from this event are that people with mental illness are not alone, and that help is available.
But he says, the real key is to keep funding going.
“If we can convince civic leaders, elected officials that we need to continue to provide monetary support to the mental health system, it's going to go a long way to provide funding for out and in-patient centers where these people get back on the road to recovery for their illness,” said Bryant.
That's where Guyla Stidmon and a team of others step in.
As a member of the Kansas City Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Guyla Stidmon along with a team of others, which included more than just health professionals, helped plan this event.
Stidmon felt the ideas and conversations that came out of this room are vital.
“To help promote better education, betters services access, how to access, there's a lot of different questions that will be addressed,” said Stidmon.
Stidmon has seen it all, with more than 40 years the in the mental health profession, but this gathering truly impressed her and she says it will have an impact.
“I think this will make a difference in Kansas City,” said Stidmon.
Mental health issues won't be solved because of the dialogue from this event, but the hope is the conversations started and ideas shared will show help is available across the metro and people are eager to help.
In regards to mental illness, professionals say don't ignore it or be scared of it, and most important, don't be afraid to ask for help.