Annual Mental Health Summit Adds Focus On Care Of First Responders And Military


Military service members, first responders and their families have unique mental health needs. Health care professionals and caregivers in our community are invited to engage in active dialogue on how to best address these needs during the 2019 Mental Health Summit at the University of Southern Indiana, held from 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Tuesday, July 23, in University Center West.

“The Mental Health Summit is an annual event that in the past has solely focused on the care of active duty service members and veterans,” said Joel Matherly, manager of the Veteran, Military & Family Resource Center at USI. “This year we have expanded our focus to also include how to care for first responders.”

Guest speakers will include representatives from Help for Heroes, a national program designed to meet the recovery needs of military service members and first responders dealing with mental health and substance abuse issues brought on by on-duty challenges including combat stress; repeated exposure to traumatic events; grief and loss; and family separation. Help for Heroes speakers will address treatment of active duty service members, veterans and first responders who have experienced complex trauma and PTSD.

There will be additional peer-to-peer presentations with a focus on self-care for mental health professionals. Topics include the challenges of losing a client to suicide, the impact of loss on professional practice, and vicarious trauma and resiliency.

Jason Murrey, a Marine veteran and Statewide Suicide Prevention Coordinator for the State of Indiana, will speak on “Self-Care and Impact of Secondary Trauma.” His co-presenter, Steve Hoffman, will offer a first responder point of view for managing secondary traumatic stress.

The cost for mental health professionals and providers to attend the 2019 Mental Health Summit is $25, which includes breakfast, lunch and an opportunity to earn continuing education hours.

During the Mental Health Summit, agencies and community organizations providing services to first responders and military service members are invited to participate in a resource fair, held simultaneously in a room adjacent to the presentations. There will be no charge to host a vendor table, but registration is required. Click here to reserve a vendor table.

To register, call 812-464-1989 or visit the Mental Health Summit web page. For programming questions and assistance, please contact Joel Matherly at 812-461-5302 or email