Mental Health Kansas City Metrowide Conference

Our place of work is where we spend a third of our lives and many times we are defined by our jobs.  For example, we’re often asked: “What do you do?” And, the people we work with become more than just co-workers.

Yet, mental health issues are traditionally considered a taboo topic at the workplace.

That’s why four years ago Tri-County Mental Health CEO Tom Petrizzo suggested the city needed something to help raise awareness and reduce the sigma for mental health in the workplace during Mental Health Awareness Month. Tom met with other mental health centers in the city to develop the first Mental Health Conference in Kansas City targeting local business leaders and HR professionals. Cerner stepped in as a partner and has helped organize, sponsor and publicize the conference ever since.

The first year, the conference had one speaker and a few dozen attendees. This year it sold out in a few days with more than 500 attendees and more than 30 speakers from behavioral health centers throughout the metro.

The conference has grown bigger and better every year and indications are that 2019 will be no different.

Although there is a movement for greater awareness to assist employees with mental health, just as if they have a physical health problem, the stigma remains. The Mental Health Kansas City conference exists to demonstrate that psychologically healthier workplaces are in the best interest of all businesses. Kansas City leaders, HR professionals, area nonprofits and the seven area mental health centers have come together to open the conversation on mental health.

Some of the topics from the 2018 conference included:

  • How to set up a confidential program for mental health services
  • Building and fostering a compassionate workplace
  • Supporting employees during times of need
  • What works and what doesn’t work when someone at work has a mood disorder
  • When colleagues or employees are struggling: How you can help
  • Making a case for Sleep… but not a work
  • Managing the impact of grief and compassion fatigue in the workplace
  • Resilience at work: individual, team and organizational practices
  • Understanding the impact of substance and mental disorders in the workplace


Tri-County CEO Tom Petrizzo offers the welcome at the Mental Health 2018 KC conference.