The results are in, and the second annual RESPECT Day at Northwest Missouri Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center (NMPRC) is an official success. Participation in the event, held January 25, nearly quadrupled from the first held last year, with more than 180 people in attendance from the center and the community.
It was a "fabulous day," according to Dee Kinder, an NMPRC staff member who worked on the planning committee.
"We offered speakers throughout the day as well as activities designed to educate people," said Gail Current, RESPECT coordinator at NMPRC. "It was gratifying to have so many people turn out to hear our speakers’ stories, educate people on the effects of mental illness, and hopefully reduce some of the stigma attached to those who have mental illness.”
The RESPECT speakers' presentations were the highlights of the day, which included a poster contest -- with 17 entries submitted from the center's clients and staff -- door-prize giveaways, and refreshments to round out the activities. Participants also had an opportunity to get answers to their questions about mental health in general and the facility in particular through a Parking Lot, which was a flip chart on which people could write down their questions during breaks. NMPRC Chief Operating Officer, Mary Attebury, and Medical Director Dr. Jim Reynolds, were on hand to support and assist in answering questions throughout the day.
Of the people in attendance was a busload of about 55 individuals from Northwest Missouri State University. The college is one of the venues where RESPECT speakers tell their personal stories of recovery to staff and students. Other representatives of speaker venues also attended, in addition to people from community churches, NMPRC clients and staff, boarding home staff, guardians, and speakers' families. Also attending was a contingent of RESPECT speakers and staff from the Center for Behavioral Medicine in Kansas City.
“Evaluations were reviewed in a committee meeting this week," said Current, and "both scores and comments were very positive." The 10-member NMPRC RESPECT Committee was highly satisfied with the results and intend to continue the event. The group already is working on plans to improve and expand the event next year.