The Overland Park City Council approved the establishment of a Mental Health Advisory Committee in December 2021, reflecting the City’s commitment to addressing mental health obstacles within the community and fostering a supportive environment for residents.
The Mental Health Advisory Committee is composed of individuals with diverse personal and professional experiences, each bringing a unique perspective to the table.
Meet the members of OP’s Mental Health Advisory Committee:
Motivated by her experiences and perspectives as both a mother and former teacher, Anne Timmons seeks to drive change through the Mental Health Advisory Committee. Faced with challenges navigating different facets of mental health with her two children, Anne found it difficult to access the resources her family needed, especially after the tragic loss of her stepson by suicide in 2017. In 2020, her younger son’s arrest highlighted gaps between mental health and the court system. Anne believes that understanding available resources is crucial for effective assistance and that the City can improve its overall response to residents experiencing mental health struggles. Anne’s goals for the Mental Health Advisory Committee include pushing forward with initial recommendations of the Mental Health Task Force, addressing current issues and providing valuable resources to Overland Park residents.
As general counsel for the Blue Valley School District, Melissa Hillman witnesses mental health struggles not only among students but also staff and families. For her, mental health encompasses the various challenges individuals face that impact their ability to thrive in different aspects of life. Melissa believes mental wellness contributes to a prosperous city, affecting everything from crime rates to community well-being. Her goals for the committee include raising awareness, reducing stigma, and fostering creativity in resource development. She feels that supporting the mental health of Overland Park’s youngest residents is crucial for the community’s success, recognizing that children are future OP home and business owners, elected officials and community leaders.
Dr. Gregory Nawalanic
Dr. Gregory Nawalanic is a clinical and forensic psychologist who serves as the Clinical Director of Psychology Services at the University of Kansas Health System’s Strawberry Hill Campus, an adult mental and behavioral health inpatient services facility. He also maintains an outpatient caseload and conducts psychological assessments as an expert witness across the State of Kansas. To Greg, mental health involves prioritizing safety and cultivating self-awareness and acceptance, enabling individuals to be the best versions of themselves. His goals for the committee include making informed recommendations to Overland Park’s Governing Body and working collaboratively to bring mental health to the forefront of the City’s conversation. Greg’s vision is to spark conversations, raise awareness, reduce stigma, and help residents find resources to improve their mental health, ultimately ensuring that everyone feels seen, valued and considered.
Sara Schlagel is a dedicated advocate for mental health with a passion for supporting area youth. Currently a Licensed Specialist Clinical Social Worker and Vice President of Administration at Camber Children’s Mental Health, Sara joined the Mental Health Advisory Committee to collaborate and create positive change. For Sara, mental health is an integral part of overall health, deserving the same attention and care as physical health. She stresses the need to implement early interventions to set children on a path to lifelong mental wellness. As a committee member, Sara aims to destigmatize mental health, provide education and ensure accessible resources to foster a healthier community.
As Director of the Johnson County Mental Health Center, Tim DeWeese believes mental health operates on two levels—individual well-being and community resilience. His involvement on the committee is driven by the belief that a mentally healthy community produces a stronger city as a whole. Tim emphasizes the importance of residents knowing where to access mental health services and supporting one another. He encourages a proactive approach to taking care of oneself and others, emphasizing that everyone is one moment away from a situation that can impact their entire lives. Tim’s goals for the committee include raising awareness, educating, and notifying residents about the city’s mental health initiatives as well as creating avenues for feedback and making recommendations to the City Council.
The establishment of the Mental Health Advisory Committee marks a significant step forward for Overland Park in addressing the mental health needs of its residents. With a dedicated team and a comprehensive approach, the committee is ready to make a positive impact on the well-being of the community.
As they meet quarterly to assess, advise and innovate, the committee’s efforts promise to create a more supportive and understanding environment for those facing mental health challenges in Overland Park.
Learn more about the Mental Health Advisory Committee on opkansas.org.