Tom Petrizzo - CEOEvery month is significant at Tri-County Mental Health, but it is nice that the world recognizes May as Mental Health Awareness Month. We wanted to take a minute to look back over this past month to review and summarize some of the many great works of the staff and community as we were busy doing what we do best: Helping those in need improve their mental wellbeing. We’re also taking time to reflect on recent tragedies that raise questions about the term “mental illness” when it is used casually often in news reports and on social media.

  • First, it is my honor to serve as the President of the Metropolitan Council of Community Mental Health Centers “Metro Council” for the Greater Kansas City area, which hosted the Mental Health KC Conference on May 12 and 13 at the Cerner Innovations Campus. We had internationally known keynote speakers inspiring us and local practitioners sharing knowledge for the two days. It was wonderful to come together in person again to learn about improving our mental health with community leaders, business professionals and healthcare workers.


  • We also celebrated National Nurses Month at Tri-County. We are fortunate to have the help of many nurses in several different roles, helping to improve the care our consumers receive. (Learn more on this blog post) Nurses build a personal connection with their patients, offering a safe space for some who are feeling lost or alone. They also often provide special care to families experiencing fear of the unknown for a loved one. We truly value our nurses’ skills, knowledge and experience and want to extend our community-wide appreciation for the special work they do.


  • Sadly, mental health has returned to the headlines in the wake of more tragedies. While some news outlets may say that the recent shootings are another example of a person with a mental illness perpetrating a heinous crime, I want to clarify that there is a difference between acting criminally based on hate, racism, alienation, or a sense of being wronged and someone violating the law due to a diagnosed mental illness. Research shows that persons with serious mental illnesses are much more likely to be the victims of crime than to perpetrate a serious crime harming others. Persons with mental illnesses rarely commit violent crimes that result in harm to others. They are much more likely to harm themselves than to harm another person.

As we grapple with these issues in the news and otherwise, mental illness continues to be a challenging problem in our society. We at Tri-County are working hard to help improve the mental health of our relatives, friends and neighbors in our community and the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Finally, for the past couple years, we have been publishing this newsletter on a quarterly basis, but we have decided to move to an “every other month” schedule. The reason for the change is simple. We are generating a vast amount of activity and information at Tri-County as well as the increasing significant amount of mental health news in our daily headlines. We welcome feedback, and we hope that this newsletter serves as a channel to tell our story and connect with all of our stakeholders.

Thank you for being a loyal reader. We are fortunate to have bright, dedicated people working to make a difference.