Mental health speaker welcomed to Westport

Mrs. Harpel shows how mental health issues can be very surprising and fields questions from the audience

Mrs. Harpel shows how mental health issues can be very surprising and fields questions from the audience

Jack Zeldes, Staff Writer

Parents and administrators gathered on Wednesday March 16 at 7 p.m. in the Bedford Middle School auditorium to listen to suicide expert Joanne Harpel. Harpel has over 20 years of experience in dealing with these issues with her work in the some of the biggest mental health institutes in America. She is currently president of “Coping after Suicide” and has worked at the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. Harpel’s presentation titled “Suicide in Your School Community: What Parents Need to Know,” gave vital information in light of some serious tragedies that have happened in the Westport community over the past year. With Dr. Elliott Landon and newly appointed principal Mr. James D’amico in attendance, Harpel gave insight to address the emotions, concerns, and fears that inevitably arise after suicide in a school community. She also answered individual questions at the end of her presentation and was able to relieve a lot of parent stress.