Conference Tackles Behavioral Health Issues

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While some may find mental health taboo to talk about, others say being public about their behavioral health issues helps them recover, even on their darkest days.

Bethann Beery has suffered from bipolar disorder for many years, but says the last few have been tough.

"It was awful," said Beery. That's how she describes her life with mental health issues before finding help.

"Even on medicine, I couldn't be alone," Beery said. "I would sit and literally watch the minutes go by on my cell phone before someone came to hang out with me."

Suicidal thoughts also flooded her mind.

"I just get suicidal and I need a break from my life sometimes," said Beery.

But Beery said that was before The Keya House living center saved her life.

"My life is incredibly better, I'm making friends, and I feel like a human again," Beery said. After a few stints in The Keya House as a client she eventually became a volunteer.

"The greatest thing I've learned is that I need to love myself amidst all of my failures,"

But despite the strides she is making, many days can be a struggle for Beery. About a week ago she says a change in the seasons got the best of her.

"People with bipolar disorder often have either extreme mania or extreme depression when the weather changes, and so I got suicidal because it was springtime and I stayed at The Keya House even though I was a volunteer," said Beery.

But conference leaders at the Behavioral Health Conference hosted by the Mental Health Association said even events like the conference have their issues.

"One of the biggest challenges for the conference itself are anxiety issues and just being amongst a lot of people that you don't know," said Mental Health Association of Nebraska Executive Director. Alan Green.

While everyday life may not be easy for those who deal with mental health issues, people at the conference said they're joined by a bond that can't be broken.

It's been 10 years since the passage of LB 1083, the Behavioral Health Reform Act, in Nebraska. That law created a shift from state-financed services to community-based services across the state.