Families can learn about youth mental health and how to help their children during a free online presentation hosted by Stilly Valley Health Connections this month.

NAMI Seattle, the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, will talk about symptoms of mental illness, how to recognize it and how to respond to it.

The presentation will be on April 14, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., over Zoom, an online teleconferencing app. Registration is required. To sign-up go to stillyvalleyhealth.org or call 360-386-9918.

“My hope is that after attending this presentation, families will have a better understanding of how to identify mental health conditions and know there are local organizations, such as NAMI, that provide support and resources,” said Erika Coghill, director of finance at Stilly Valley Health Connections and one of the organizers of the event.

There will be multiple parts to the presentation.

“The first part is educational, and focuses on the early warning signs of mental health conditions and how to help someone who is showing signs,” said Coghill.

A speaker with personal experience with mental health issues is scheduled to speak after that.

“And at the end, participants can ask questions and learn more about resources in our area,” said Coghill.

Stilly Valley Health Connections is an organization meant to support health in the area.

“One of our areas of focus is mental health,” said Coghill.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an increasing need for better understanding, education, and access to mental health, particularly for children,” she said.

To support better mental health the organization wanted to partner with NAMI Seattle for a local presentation.

“Stilly Valley Health Connections will continue bringing programs, like this presentation, to residents in our community,” said Coghill.

The organization is a program from Public Hospital District No. 3, which serves Arlington, Darrington and the surrounding communities.

The district was originally established in 1964 to run Cascade Valley Hospital and Clinics. In 2016 Cascade Valley Hospital management was transferred to Skagit Regional Health, although the elected board of Public Hospital District No. 3 still oversees the merger agreement.

To further serve the community the board approved the start of Stilly Valley Health Connections. In the fall of 2020 they moved into a new Smokey Point facility that they hope will provide space for health and wellness activities, although it has not been open to the public yet due to the pandemic.

Officials with Stilly Valley Health Connections hope to hold a grand opening for their facility sometime later this year.

More information about the organization is available at stillyvalleyhealth.org.

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