Internationally Known Mental Health Speaker Comes to WWU

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it truly means! In collaboration with the Fulton State Hospital Advisory Board, William Woods University will host a RESPECT Seminar next week.

Joel Slack, an internationally known speaker who is a mental health consumer and advocate for the mentally ill, will present the seminar from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, in Dulany Auditorium on the William Woods campus. It is free and open to the public.

RESPECT stands for Responsive, Encouraging, Sensitive, Perceptive, Expediting, Caring and Thoughtful. RESPECT International is a non-profit organization whose mission is to influence the development of consumer advocacy for the mentally ill worldwide.

Slack, the president of RESPECT International, will speak about respect in a general sense, as well as respect for those with mental illness. He has presented his seminar to more than 60,000 people.

Joanne Fulton, chair of the WWU social work department and a member of the Fulton State Hospital Advisory Board, explains that the purpose of the presentation is “to sensitize the audience to the mentally ill and, in general, understand the real meaning of RESPECT.”

Slack comes with a highly decorated resume. Not only is he an international educator and consultant in the field of mental health, but he has also been a member of the senior management of the Alabama Department of Mental Health as the director of the nation’s first office of Consumer Relations.

He has also recently lived in Sweden for a year, providing specialized consultation and training throughout Western and Eastern Europe. In addition, he has served on the National Advisory Council to the Center for Mental Health Services. Slack has provided services to professionals and consumers in 35 states and 25 foreign countries.

According to Fulton, the audience should “come away from this talk having a better understanding of mental illness and their approach to the mentally ill.”