HOPE Clubhouse presents mental health advocate and reigning Miss District of Columbia, Haely Jardas, as keynote speaker
In honor of May as Mental Health Awareness Month, James Wineinger, executive director of HOPE Clubhouse of Southwest Florida, encourages the public to save the date for the Mental Health Educational Symposium, set for Oct. 24.
Fort Myers native Haely Jardas, the reigning Miss District of Columbia, will be the keynote speaker at the “Food for Thought: Feeding the Mind, Body and Soul” symposium from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24, at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater, 1380 Colonial Blvd., Fort Myers.
The theme “Food for Thought” reflects the initiative behind the Hope Clubhouse new edible Garden of Hope that promotes better nutrition and healthier lifestyles for adults living with mental illness.
In the September Miss America contest, Jardas established the platform “Mental Health Matters.” Having suffered from anxiety and depression, Jardas’ message to the public was that anxiety disorders and depression are common, particularly among college students. However, they are highly treatable illnesses, and help is available. She continues to encourage the public to reach out to lawmakers at all levels to pass mental health legislation.
A graduate of Cypress Lake High School and the American University in Washington, D.C., Jardas is honored to return to her home town as the symposium’s keynote speaker. Today, she is a program manager for the D.C. Statehood Initiatives Agency.
In addition to the keynote address, a panel of local advocates will discuss the state of mental health care in Southwest Florida, and what can be done to improve the quality of life of people living with mental illness. The panel for the “Food for Thought” Mental Health Symposium will include Judge H. Andrew Swett of the Lee County Mental Health Court; respected Fort Myers psychiatrist Dr. Omar Rieche; and Hope Clubhouse member Cindy Bishop. News-Press executive editor and vice president of content Cindy McCurry-Ross will serve as emcee.
Continuing Education Units can be earned for qualifying professionals in attendance.
About Hope Clubhouse
Hope Clubhouse is a community of support for adults living with a mental illness in Southwest Florida providing opportunities for meaningful work, education, friendships and access to housing. Hope Clubhouse is a 501(c)3 organization located at 3602 Broadway Ave., Fort Myers, Florida 33907. Call (239) 267-1777or visit www.hopeclubhouse.org to donate or for more information.