Meet the Panelists: Day 2
Our goal at State of Mind is to shine a light on current mental health issues impacting our community. We will look at the gaps in the system and bring together the best local minds in the field of mental health to talk about solutions and initiatives. Learn how YOU can be involved and affect change. Join us for one – or all four – of the panel discussions!
Meeting of the Minds | Hotlines, Hope, and Help for Those in Crisis
A conversation about crisis services in Summit County.
Wednesday, February 16, 10 AM – 11:30 AM
If you’ve never experienced a mental health crisis for yourself or with a loved one, it may seem abstract to you. So let us explain, a mental health crisis is any situation in which a person’s behavior puts them at risk of hurting themselves or others. This crisis may prevent them from caring for themselves or function effectively in their community.
What services exist in Summit County to support those in crisis and their loved ones? What services are missing? Do you know where to go, who to call, who to trust?
The 988 phone number, which directs people to the Nationwide Suicide Prevention Lifeline is launching July, 16, 2022. How will this affect our current crisis services in Summit County, or will it?
Join the conversation between esteemed panelists as they discuss these and other questions around the topic of mental health crisis services and learn how you can better advocate for yourself and your loved ones in the event of a mental health crisis.
Natalie Herron, CONNECT Summit County Board Chair
Natalie Herron spent her professional career working in the medical field. In long term care, assisted living and most recently with post-surgical, elderly populations, and people facing end of life challenges as the director of Applegate Homecare and Hospice for Summit and Wasatch counties. Natalie also served on the Summit and Wasatch caregiving coalition board. She currently works part-time for Park City Community Church as their Connections Coordinator. Helping connect people to people within the PCCC community and beyond.
Challenged with finding resources for a family member struggling with depression, Natalie left her full-time job to focus on the needs of her family. Her own struggles with coordinating efforts between school, counselors, and medical professionals, left Natalie knowing that more needed to be done to help educate families and support teens struggling with depression as they transition into life after high school. Natalie became affiliated with CONNECT Summit County by joining, and then leading, the Parents Roundtable, and now serves as the chair of CONNECT’s Board of Directors. She wholeheartedly believes in CONNECT’s mission of de-stigmatizing mental illness – “it is of utmost importance to our community”. Natalie volunteers her time throughout the year for CONNECT and especially during May Mental Health Awareness Month and is committed to bringing more advocacy, financial support, educational programming and resources to the community.
Amber Mackay, Summit County Clubhouse, Executive Director
Amber Mackay, Executive Director of Summit County Clubhouse is a social service worker for the state of Utah with more than 20 years of professional experience working with people living with mental illness. She was the Associate Director at Alliance House (another Clubhouse in Salt Lake City,) for over 5 years overseeing the day-to-day operations. She worked previously for 8 years as Alliance House transitional employment coordinator helping hundreds of individuals return to paid employment in the community. Mrs. Mackay trained Clubhouse staff from over 30 Clubhouses internationally. Since 2010 she has been a member of the Clubhouse International faculty, accrediting and consulting with Clubhouses worldwide. Mrs. Mackay earned her BSW is social work from the University of Utah. She was recruited in July of 2019 by the summit County Board of Directors to establish Summit County Clubhouse. Amber lives with her husband in Sandy, UT and enjoys playing music.
Todd Soutor, PhD, Director of CI-Utah, Director of Intensive Services, Davis County CIT Coordinator and Mental Health Court Director for Davis County
Dr. Todd Soutor, Ph.D. has been a licensed psychologist in the state of Utah since 1996. He is initially from St. Paul, Minnesota. Dr. Soutor received his bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in psychology in 1985. After working two years in business, he returned to graduate school and received his master’s degree in clinical psychology from Minnesota State University. Dr. Soutor received his Ph.D. from Utah State University, which is one of three programs in the country that is accredited in Clinical, School, and Counseling Psychology disciplines. After finishing his academic coursework, Dr. Soutor completed his clinical psychology internship at Denver General Hospital where he specialized in risk assessment, de-escalation, and psychiatric/psychological assessment.
Prior to coming to Utah, Dr. Soutor received post-doctoral supervision at the University of Minnesota Medical School Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Soutor is the CIT regional coordinator and director of the mental health court for Davis County. Currently, Dr. Soutor is the director of intensive services at Davis Behavioral Health. He is also on the Davis County Children’s Justice Center Advisory Board and a Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health statewide instructor for designated examinations and civil commitment. Dr. Soutor has several years experience performing psychological evaluations, personality assessments, neuropsychological assessments, risk assessments, and forensic evaluations.
Malena Stevens, Summit County Council
Over the past nine years, Malena has served the citizens and visitors of Summit County through her roles at the Park City Police Department. As the Victim Advocate Coordinator, Malena was a first responder who specialized in assisting victims of violent crime immediately following their victimization. This experience allowed Malena to work collaboratively with local nonprofits to provide needed support services and criminal justice information for victims traversing challenging situations. Malena currently manages the police office, budget, and strategic planning in her role as Executive Assistant to the Chief of Police.
Malena holds a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and a Master’s of Public Administration from the University of Utah where she focused on local government policy. Malena has served two terms on the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission, including time as chair, and has represented the commission on the Kimball Junction Masterplan Committee. She was appointed by Park City Municipal as a member of the Summit County Behavioral Assessment Committee, which focused on expanding mental health services throughout Summit County. She has served as chair of the Summit County Domestic Violence Coalition and a member of the Summit County Suicide Prevention Coalition.
Currently, Malena lives in the Snyderville Basin with her husband, son, and ten-year-old pup, and they collectively enjoy anything they can do together. Malena enjoys hiking, yoga, singing, and writing. https://www.summitcounty.org/directory.aspx?EID=65
Meeting of the Minds | Race, Poverty, and Mental Health Resources: Becoming a More Fair-Minded Community
A conversation about mental health equity.
Wednesday, February 16, 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM
According to SAMHSA Behavioral Health, (mental health) equity is the right to access quality health care for all populations regardless of the individual’s race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or geographical location. This includes access to prevention, treatment, and recovery services for mental and substance use disorders.
This brings up many questions for us that we will explore in our discussion. What are the barriers to equity? What are tools we can use to self-advocate? Are there local initiatives to create more equity in mental health treatment in Summit County?
Join the conversation between our esteemed panelists as we discuss these and other questions around the topic of mental health equity and learn how you can better advocate for yourself and your loved ones.
Kathy Meyer, CONNECT Summit County Board Member and Mental Health Provider
Kathy Meyer specializes in therapeutic placements for teens and young adults. As a mom of three young adults and a mental health professional, she offers parents genuine and compassionate support as they navigate the process of getting their child help. Her areas of expertise are students with anxiety, depression and students who are struggling with social skill deficits. She also loves working with young adults and is skilled at getting them to engage in their process. Kathy is involved with many community nonprofits, consults with the local school system on mental health issues, facilitates teen groups, and teaches workshops in the local schools. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, travel, hiking, trail running, and spending time with her family and friends.
Allison Heffernan, Take Care Utah Director, Utah Health Policy Project
Allison Heffernan joined UHPP in October 2018 as a Health Access Assister. She took over co-leading the Take Care Utah program in 2019, which meets people where they are at by helping vulnerable populations navigate gaining access to health care, like Medicaid, CHIP, or the Affordable Care Act. Allison’s focus programming is with the behavioral health population, people being released from incarceration, and people experiencing homelessness. Through her work with people who have been incarcerated, she has seen the need for continued access to mental health services for this population and all Utahns, by helping them access affordable health care. She graduated from the University of Utah in 2016 with a B.A. in International Studies with an emphasis in Global Health and a double minor in Spanish and Nutrition. While there she developed her beliefs that healthcare should be available for everyone. She is excited to serve her community and advocate for health equity for all Utahns. She recently became a board member for the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) Utah chapter in 2021 and is excited to support NAMI and end mental health stigma in Utah.
Nelson Clayton, Senior Program Manager, University of Utah Health Plans
Nelson Clayton is a professional counselor as well as a program manager with the University of Utah Health Plans. He has Masters degrees in both Counseling Psychology and Business Administration. Currently Nelson manages the Medicaid behavioral health programs in Summit County as well as administers block grant funding to best meet community needs as directed by the Summit County Behavioral Health Committee. An area of focus for Nelson is in early intervention and treatment and he has started and managed the school-based therapy program in the Summit County schools. This program has been running since 2019 and has successfully delivered services to many times more students than received treatment under the previous model for school therapy.
Sr. Veronica A. Fajardo, CSC-LCSW, Therapist at Holy Cross Ministries
Sister Veronica is a Sister of the Holy Cross and a bilingual/bi-cultural counselor. She has worked with survivors of trauma, families and with non-violent parenting and support groups. Sister Veronica has ministered in Utah, Ghana, California and North Carolina. Prior to being a counselor, Sister Veronica was an educator for twelve years and has experience working with children who have exceptional needs.
Sherri Wittwer, Director of Housing and Community Partnerships, Optum Salt Lake County and President of CIT Utah
Sherri Wittwer is a long-time mental health and community advocate. Sherri has worked in a variety of capacities and with many organizations in the mental health field. This includes work in the community, non-profit, government, and corporate arenas. Sherri’s work includes providing support, education and advocacy for individuals affected by mental illness and their families, as well as systemic work through the development of policy, programs, and evidence-based services.
Sherri is an Adjunct Faculty Member in the Political Science Department for Salt Lake Community College and she teaches in the Prison Education Program. Sherri has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Utah. She also serves as the Board President for CIT Utah (a law enforcement and mental health crisis response program), is the Board Vice Chair of the Utah Housing Coalition, and is a founder and board member of Peers Empowering Peers Utah, an organization promoting mental health peer support.
Jackie Rae Buckman, Housing Case Manager, Volunteers of America, Homeless Youth Resource Center
Jackie Buckman was born and raised in Park City, Utah. Growing up in Summit County, a deep love for the outdoors was fostered at an early age. Throughout her years, she has always come back to finding solace in the natural landscapes. But solace is one thing that has not always been easy to achieve. In her life, Jackie has battled a number of concerns relating to mental health – ranging from depression and anxiety, to substance abuse, to suicide attempts. She has accessed a number of resources within the Summit and Salt Lake County areas, and strongly believes that conversations of equity in mental health services must be had in our communities.
Jackie graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelors of Social Work in May of 2020. She is currently employed as a Housing Case Manager through the Volunteers of America, Homeless Youth Resource Center. She is responsible for developing and managing the Youth Rapid Rehousing Program, which provides housing focused case management services to clients served, with the goal of clients quickly transitioning from homelessness to independent and stable living. While also working to develop accessible housing resources and community partnerships to facilitate this purpose. Jackie is also planning to begin her Graduate studies in Social Work at the University of Utah starting in May. Her interests and future career goals lie in youth/adolescent mental health, substance use treatment, and homeless services.