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Free Fort Bend Mental Health Event to Feature Golden Gate Bridge Jump Survivor


August 26, 2019

By Natalie Cook Clark

Sheriff Nehls and the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office are hosting a free mental health conference to address the growing crisis affecting not just our community but our nation. Topics will include intervention to treatment, suicide, drugs and school trends, bullying, dementia and Alzheimer's, and much more. Registration is now open.

Kevin Hines to speak at the Shining a Light on Mental Health Conference. Photo credit: Kevin Hines

Registration Open, Free but Limited Event

Registration in now open for the Shining a Light on Mental Health Conference on Saturday, September 7. The event is free, however guests are required to register. Organizers hope to help at least 350 families or 1,000 people. Registration will close at 1,200 and the event is filling up, so early registration is recommended.

The Biggest Threat to Our Community

"We need to have a serious discussion in the country about America's mental health," says Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy E. Nehls. "I've been talking about mental health and how it's the biggest threat to our community since I became Sheriff 7 years ago."

While other groups have addressed this topic, this is the first time that the sheriff's office has brought together this many experts to address and offer assistance to the community.

Open to Katy and Fort Bend Residents

The all-day, free conference is open to all local and Fort Bend County residents. Children 13 years of age and older are encouraged to come with their parents. Speakers will discuss topics from intervention to treatment, including suicide, drugs and school trends, bullying, dementia and Alzheimer's, understanding one's mind, and much more.

Powerful Speaker Lineup

Kevin Hines is the keynote speaker. Hines shares a story of hope, healing, and recovery after attempting to take his own life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA.

"We want people to understand that they can always reach out to the Sheriff's office," says Nehls. "Our crisis intervention team will be there to help anyone who needs it."

Helping People Connect, Find Resources

In addition to addressing many topics, the conference will also offer resources to help people connect with services. "This is a great opportunity for people to come out and learn," says Nehls.

Mental health is often discussed in the news in connection with tragedies such as the recent shootings.

"You hear about people who never got help. You hear about people who didn't know where to go to talk to someone or to get resources," says Nehls.

Break the Stigma

Last month, eight people tragically took their lives in Fort Bend County. One was only 15 years old. That number does not include the cases of suicidal attempts.

"Why are we losing 22 soldiers a day to suicide? Why do they feel they can't talk to someone about it? There is such a stigma with mental health that these discussion have to happen," says Nehls.

The conference will take place on Saturday, September 7 from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Safari Texas Ranch in Richmond, Texas. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

To attend, register online at You can sign up for the sessions you are interested in.

The department is working on recording the event and hopes to share information from the day on social media. Follow their Facebook page and Youtube channel.

Mental health resources are always available at the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office. Reach out online or call 281-341-4665.

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