Reminder: Conversation on mental health to be held in Cass County


October 17th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Cass County Mental Health Coordinator Teresa Kanning says seats are still available for this Thursday evening’s “Conversation on Mental Health,” which takes place at Iowa Western Community College, in Atlantic. The event begins at 7-p.m., with keynote speaker Joan Becker.

Becker’s son Mark shot and killed Aplington-Parkersburg Football Coach Ed Thomas in June 2009. A jury found him guilty of 1st degree murder in March 2010, after rejecting his insanity defense. He was later sentenced to life in prison.

Joan Becker, who has two other sons, is making her way around the state to hold conversations about mental health issues. She spoke last month at the Wallace Country Life Center in rural Orient, about her son‘s struggle with paranoid schizophrenia.

Kanning told the Board of Supervisors during a meeting earlier this month, that Becker will discuss what parts of the mental health system failed her son, and which parts were helpful. A local mental health panel discussion will follow Becker’s presentation about how the system works or doesn’t work, in Cass County.

Several mental health and medical professionals, as well as Cass County Sheriff Darby McLaren and County Attorney Dan Feistner, have signed-up for the program. Some of those individuals will participate in the panel discussion that evening. The event is open to the public. To reserve your seat, call 712-243-4424.