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With Shared Clients and Patients, Mental Health and Law Professionals Train to Improve Service

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A conference months in the making will bring together professionals from the fields of mental health, health care, and law on Thursday in Springfield. Dubbed Mental Health, Healthcare, the Law and Ethics Conference, the event is an effort to bridge the gaps between the three professions.

“We’ve all been trained in very different ways and we serve very different purposes but they intersect constantly,” said Crista Hogan, executive director of the Springfield Metropolitan Bar.

Dr. Paul Thomlinson, vice president for Research and Quality Assurance at Burrell Behavioral Health, is one of the conference’s presenters.

“Really it’s all about trying to find that common ground and dispelling any myths and misunderstandings around what we can and cannot do in good faith and in good ethical conscience and what we really must do in order to work better together in the service of our shared patients and clients.” Thomlinson said.

Hogan and Thomlinson explained that during the conference the professionals will learn how to better care for the individuals they serve but also how to care for their own mental health while they deal with their high stress careers.

“One of our priorities for the past year and a half has been to look at some of the mental health issues within the profession. The statistics show that there is a much higher rate of depression, anxiety and suicide in the legal profession…compared to the general population, there’s a higher incidence,” Hogan said.

Thomlinson explained that many of the workshops at the conference will deal with this issue specifically.

According to Thomlinson, around 200 members of the mental health, legal and medical community will be in attendance.

The conference opens at 8 a.m. Thursday at the University Plaza Hotel and Convention Center, with opening remarks offered by Springfield Senator Bob Dixon.

More information about this conference can be found on Burrell Behavioral Health’s website.

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