St. Luke's Hospital Presentation at National Psychiatric Nurses Conference

COLUMBUS, NC - Becky Brodar, RN, community outreach coordinator for St. Luke's Hospital Center for Behavioral Medicine, gave a poster presentation at the 30th annual American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) conference in mid-October in Hartford, CT. Brodar's presentation focused on the hospital's partnership with community leaders in improving mental wellness.

"We believe St. Luke's Hospital is a leader and great community partner in our region," Brodar said, "so it has been an honor to represent the hospital on a national level."

Brodar submitted a proposal to the APNA in the spring and was accepted in early April. Her presentation, titled Leading a Community Towards Mental Wellness, was a collaborative effort with former process improvement coordinator for St. Luke's Hospital Hans Palma, BA, and Columbus Chief of Police Chris Beddingfield, MPA.

The presentation centered largely on the creation of the Polk County Mental Wellness Task Force and its Suicide Awareness Project.

Since its inception, the Polk County Mental Wellness Task Force (MWTF) has held forums to gauge the state of mental health in Polk County, given community presentations, working with law enforcement agencies to create a standard mental health assessment "pink card" on how to assess for safety when a Polk County resident is in a mental health crisis, and more.

"We've been able to teach people about mental wellness, but we've also learned a lot about our community," Brodar said. "We have connected the right organizations, invited the right people to the table, and created the right programs. Polk County still has a long way to go, but to share our successes at a national conference means we're doing something right."

More than 1,500 healthcare professionals attend APNA's annual conference each year. In 2016, APNA offered more than 100 continuing education sessions and networking opportunities for attendees, earning each attendee 29.5 Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) contact hours. The purpose of the conference is to "advance psychiatric-mental health care through networking, education and a celebration of psychiatric-mental health nurses' leadership every day."