‘Let’s just talk about it’: Trumbull groups to talk mental health

Left to right: Vicki Tesoro, Trumbull First Selectman, Officer Wes Bartosik, Lara Walden, Melissa McGarry, TPAUD Director and Kiersten Naumann, TPAUD Program Coordinator.

Left to right: Vicki Tesoro, Trumbull First Selectman, Officer Wes Bartosik, Lara Walden, Melissa McGarry, TPAUD Director and Kiersten Naumann, TPAUD Program Coordinator.

Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

TRUMBULL — Even though she was in a meeting about numerous issues, Kiersten Naumann said mental health was on everyone’s mind.

Naumann, program coordinator with TPAUD, Trumbull's Prevention Partnership, said she met with some of TPAUD’s partners about other issues. During informal conversations, she found they all had the same concerns.

“We were having some conversations about their own needs within their families as relating to mental health,” Naumann said. “We thought ‘It’s so hard to find an appropriate place to have a conversation about this, because it’s so complex.”

So, Naumann and some of TPAUD’s partners — including Trumbull EMS, the Mary J. Sherlach Counseling Center, Trumbull PTA Council, My Friend Abby, Confidant Health, Lakewood Trumbull YMCA — teamed with the organization to start the program “Let’s Talk Mental Health, Trumbull.”

The program is a monthly speaker series, which will feature experts from the field of mental health, and offer a chance for authentic dialogue, as well as practical suggestions and support.

Naumann said the program aims to address a range of topics that Trumbull families face, and often don’t discuss. She said mental health concerns have become increasingly prevalent throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but there still aren’t enough opportunities to discuss these concerns, or even to talk about what mental health means.

“I feel like there’s been a lot done about breaking the stigma, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of places people can go to have open, honest conversations about public health,” Naumann said.

That’s why the topic of the first “Let’s Talk Mental Health” event is “How to Talk About Mental Health: No Shame, No Blame and No More Silence.”

The event, which will take place at 7 p.m. Feb. 16 via Zoom, will feature guest speaker Valerie Barton, executive director of The Youth Mental Health Project, a national organization based in Darien.

Naumann said this first event is intended to be an introduction to the topic of mental health and what it means. In addition to the speaker, there will be a question-and-answer session. Naumann said she hopes people see this as an opportunity to be open and honest about how they feel.

“Mental health is something that affects all of us,” she said. “Let’s just talk about it.”

Attendees can register to receive the Zoom link at www.tpaud.org.