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On Our Minds is the name of KERA's mental health news initiative. The station began focusing on the issue in 2013, after the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Coverage is funded in part by the Donna Wilhelm Family Fund and Cigna.

A Statewide Spotlight On Mental Health In Dallas

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Lauren Silverman
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KERA News
Mental health leaders talk about the future of mental health and disability services at the Dallas Sheraton. (From left) Danette Castle and Melissa Rowan of the Texas Council, Gary Jessee of the Health and Human Services Commission.

Hundreds of mental health specialists from across the state are gathered today in Downtown Dallas for the 28th Annual Texas Council of Mental Health Centers Conference.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings gave an opening speech that stressed the importance of providing first-class treatment for those struggling with mental illness, substance additions and intellectual development disabilities.

Rawlings started his push for awareness and action on mental health began after the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. In February, he spoke at "Erasing the  Stigma: Mental Illness and the Search for Solutions," a public dialogue sponsored by KERA and The Dallas Morning News.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGR1bvCHQaY

At this week's conference, there are sessions on everything from how to use text and other technology to respond to people in crisis, to treating people with schizophrenia. You can see the full agenda here.

We’ll have highlights from the conference later today and tomorrow. 

Lauren Silverman was the Health, Science & Technology reporter/blogger at KERA News. She was also the primary backup host for KERA’s Think and the statewide newsmagazine  Texas Standard. In 2016, Lauren was recognized as Texas Health Journalist of the Year by the Texas Medical Association. She was part of the Peabody Award-winning team that covered Ebola for NPR in 2014. She also hosted "Surviving Ebola," a special that won Best Long Documentary honors from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). And she's won a number of regional awards, including an honorable mention for Edward R. Murrow award (for her project “The Broken Hip”), as well as the Texas Veterans Commission’s Excellence in Media Awards in the radio category.