The next OSU Institute of Technology virtual Diversity Learning Series will be a panel discussion focused on Mental Illness - Increasing Awareness and Decreasing Stigma on April 15 at 3 p.m.
The OSUIT Diversity & Inclusion Committee is proud to welcome DeLainna Percifield, MS, LPC, LADC/MH, Jerry Allan Gates, LPC, LMFT, LADC and Katherine Wright Conner, LCSW, IMHE®️-I.
This is a free event available to all OSUIT students, faculty and staff.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of adults reporting symptoms of anxiety or depression has risen from one in ten to four in 10.
“Often, people with mental illness avoid or delay seeking treatment due to concerns about others treating them differently; they recognize that family, friends, and acquaintances often fear what they don’t understand,” said Kathy Avery, counselor at OSUIT. “Talking openly about mental health is one way to help reduce negative attitudes about those with mental illness.”
This set of panelists was chosen for their wide range of expertise. Among the three, they have worked in various settings, with multiple ages and with many different mental health issues.
Conner is the site director for children’s services for CREOKS in Okmulgee, specializing in infant mental health and is an adoption competent therapist. She also provides consultation for the Oklahoma Child Care Warmline. She was previously employed by CARD Early Head Start as a home-based and mentoring specialist and a classroom educator.
Gates is the director of Inpatient Therapy and Intensive Outpatient Programs at Laureate Psychiatric Hospital and Clinic in Tulsa and chair of the Advisory Council for the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse. He is a seasoned mental health professional with clinical expertise in substance abuse and mental health treatment. Gates’ thirty years of experience includes directing patient care and operational programs for inpatient and outpatient facilities.
Percifield a member of the Choctaw Nation and works as a regional trainer with CREOKS. She received her Master of Counseling Psychology degree from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah and has since worked primarily in trauma and addiction. Percifield’s work includes mental health and substance abuse treatment in residential and outpatient treatment settings.
Avery is hopeful that those in attendance will realize that help is available.
“Mental illness is treatable,” said Avery. “We should view mental health treatment in the same light as treating physical illnesses.”
For more information about the panelists or to RSVP, please visit the Diversity & Inclusion website page.