Region 9 Fall Conference 2023

Date: Friday, September 29

Time: 8:30 am - 4:15 pm

Location: South Central College, 1920 Lee Boulevard, North Mankato, MN 56003 (map)

Thanks for attending!



8:30 - 9:00 am              Check-in / Onsite registration / Visit the exhibits
9:00 - 9:30 am   Welcome and Awards 
9:30 - 10:45 am  Keynote: Introduction to Neurodiversity-Affirming Practice 
  Dr. Katie Stadther and Britney Marks-Kroehler
  The words "neuodiversity," "neurodiverse," and "neurodivergent" are being used more frequently. Perhaps you have heard these words and found yourself wondering what they actually mean. During this keynote, you'll learn more about what these terms mean and develop a deeper understanding of what neurodiversity-affirming practice looks like.
10:45 - 11:00 am  Break / Visit the exhibits
11:00am - 12:00pm  Breakout Sessions
  Handshakes Over Hugs, Erika Sletten: This session will focus on healthy work boundaries, including how to identify healthy (and unhealthy) boundaries at work. Participants will learn new skills to maintain these boundaries. 
  An Overview of Depression in Older Adults, Jeffrey Buchanan: Modern life and the global pandemic have taken a toll on the mental health of many Americans, including older adults. Unfortunately, depression often goes undetected and untreated in older people, After providing a brief overview of mental health issues in older adults, this presentation will focus specifically on depression as it occurs in older adults. Topics covered will include risk factors for developing depression, consequences of depression, how the symptom presentation of depression may differ in older people, causes of depression, and treatment options. 
  Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR), David Goehl-Manolis (1.5 hours): Learn three steps anyone can take to help prevent suicide, Just like CPR, QPR is an emergency response to someone in crisis and can save lives. This training is intended for anyone who wants to learn best practices in suicide prevention. You will leave this training with concrete strategies you can use to intervene in crisis situations. This is a 1.5 hour session and will end at 12:30 pm. Session is limited to 40 attendees. 
12:00 - 1:30 pm  Lunch / Visit the exhibits 
1:30 - 2:30 pm  Breakout Sessions 

Resilience in Practice for the Rurally Located Helping Professional, Dr. Tom Allen: This session will identify the unique barriers and opportunities for rurally located helping professionals. Within that context, results of a recent international systematic review studying internal characteristics that contribute to helping professional resilience will be discussed (Cronin, Allen, Hou & Walker, 2023; Journal of Prevention and Health Promotion). Findings have implications for fostering helping professional resilience. Attendees will be encouraged to self-reflect about their own resilience and consider how their rural context relates to their work. There will be time for discussion so that attendees leave with a deeper understanding of their own path towards resilience.

Informed Choice, Courtney Kressin: This session focuses on informed choice, regardless of legal decision-making capacity. You’ll learn how to support others in making truly informed decisions. You’ll also have an opportunity to reflect on the ways professionals may unintentionally take away choice from the people they support. This session will also include a brief overview of The Arc Minnesota.
  Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR), David Goehl-Manolis (1.5 hours): Learn three steps anyone can take to help prevent suicide, Just like CPR, QPR is an emergency response to someone in crisis and can save lives. This training is intended for anyone who wants to learn best practices in suicide prevention. You will leave this training with concrete strategies you can use to intervene in crisis situations. This is a 1.5 hour session and will begin at 1:15 and end at 2:45 pm. Session is limited to 40 attendees. 
2:30 - 3:00 pm  Break / Last chance to visit the exhibits! 
3:00 - 4:00 pm  Breakout Sessions 
  Chemical Use and the Impact on Child Protection, Allison Budenski, Melissa Hernandez, and Haley Krumm: This session will present information about recent changes in child protection and mandated reporting practices, particularly regarding how chemical use impacts child protection cases. We will also discuss how to address this issue through inter-family systems. Attendees will learn about resources that Brown County uses to support families in rural communities, and attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions. 
  Understanding Labels in Hispanic Society, Allie Furth and Tracy Opie: This presentation offers information on different labels used to describe individuals within Hispanic society, the history of these labels, how labels may be interpreted, and resources to learn more about Hispanic heritage.
  Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) for Agricultural Communities, Emily Krekelberg (1.5 hours): Farmers, farm families, and farming communities face high rates of stress and have unique needs when it comes to mental health resources. Just like CPR, QPR is an emergency response to someone in crisis and can save lives. This training is for anyone who interacts with farmers, farm families, and farm communities who wants to learn best practices in suicide prevention. You will leave this training with concrete strategies, tailored to meet the needs of agricultural communities, that you can use to intervene in crisis situations. This is a 1.5 hour session and will begin at 2:45 and end at 4:15 pm. Session is limited to 40 attendees. 

About the Presenters

Dr. Tom Allen (he/him) is a licensed psychologist, practicing in-person in Mankato and also virtually.

Dr. Jeffrey Buchanan is a Professor of Psychology at Minnesota State University, Mankato. He is currently Director of the Clinical Psychology master’s degree program and is a member of the Aging Studies faculty committee.  Dr. Buchanan received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno, and completed a clinical internship and post-doctoral fellowship with an emphasis in geropsychology at the Veteran’s Affairs Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Dr. Buchanan’s expertise is in mental health and aging as well as Alzheimer’s disease and related conditions. Most of his current research focuses on understanding ineffective communication patterns between younger and older adults, particularly elderspeak and age-related microaggressions. He has over 50 publications in scholarly journals in disciplines such as psychology, gerontology, applied behavior analysis, and nursing. 

Allison Budenski, LADC, works at Brown county providing Comprehensive Assessments, treatment coordination, education, and resources while working closely with the Brown County Drug Court, Adult and Children’s Mental Health, Child Protective Services, and other agencies. Her previous work experience is in high and medium intensity residential treatment, providing group and individual counseling with evidence based curriculum. She is engaged in co facilitating a Chemically Dependent Parenting education group and sitting on various community advisory teams related to substance use disorders. Allison has a passion for providing a person-centered approach to treatment modalities, meeting the individual where they are at while incorporating community resources into recovery.

Allie Furth, MSW, LICSW, and Tracy Opie, MA, LPCC, are Clinical Directors at the Forensic Mental Health Program in St. Peter. In their roles, they oversee clinical programming and operations for multiple treatment units and clinical teams who provide inpatient mental health care services to individuals committed as Mentally Ill & Dangerous.

David Goehl-Manolis manages NAMI Minnesota’s suicide prevention programs by leading and coordinating classes, developing and distributing resources, and responding to requests for information and support. A lifelong educator, David has over 25 years experience teaching culturally, ethnically, and socio-economically diverse middle school and elementary students. The son of a mental health professional, his compassion and advocacy for those living with mental illness began at an early age. David holds a BA in History, MA in Teaching, and recently completed the requirements for licensure in school counseling. He is a certified instructor for QPR, Survivor Voices, CALM, and SafeTALK. He is also a trained ASIST suicide interventionist.

Melissa Hernandez, AA, is a Family Based Service Provider at Brown County Human Services. She is a licensed facilitator in Love and Logic, Not A Number, and Parents Forever curriculums. Melissa has an extensive background working in mental health and alongside Child Protection. She has also completed 40 hours in advocacy training for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. She is passionate about helping parents learn new strategies for providing safe and healthy homes for their children.

Emily Krekelberg grew up on her family's dairy farm near Le Sueur, Minnesota. She works for the University of Minnesota Extension as the Extension Educator for Farm Safety & Health. Her work focuses on grain bin safety, livestock safety, tractor safety, farmer mental health, and suicide prevention. A passion of Emily's is advocating for wellness in agriculture. She has a BS in Animal Science and a Masters in Agricultural Education from the University of Minnesota.

Cortney Kressin is a graduate of the Minnesota State University Bachelors of Science in Social Work program. She is currently the Director of Individual Advocacy and Evaluation for The Arc Minnesota. Cortney leads The Arc Minnesota’s help desk and individual advocacy work, helping people who have disabilities and their trusted supporters in navigating formal and informal disability supports. Cortney has experience as a coach, group facilitator, and Person Centered Planner.

 Haley Krumm, LSW, is a Child Protection Social Worker at Brown County Human Services. She provides supportive services to children and families through Family Investigations/Assessments, Ongoing Case Management, Foster Care and Adoption Services. Haley works closely with community providers as well as Law Enforcement, the County Attorney’s Office, and the court system. Haley is trained in forensic interviewing, Human Trafficking Responses, ACEs, and trauma response services, among others. Haley works to support the family environment, ensuring children in the community are in a healthy, safe, and stable environment where their needs are appropriately met.

Britney Marks-Kroehler is a neurodivergent licensed marriage and family therapist and licensed alcohol and drug counselor. She obtained her master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from Northcentral University. Her areas of interest include infant and early childhood mental health, neurodivergence, foster care, and adoption. Britney provides neurodiversity affirming individual and family therapy along with mental health consultation to county providers and school district staff. Britney is a passionate human rights advocate and lifelong learner.

Erika Sletten is currently employed with Allina Health (Hospice & Home Care). Previously, Erika worked in child protection, long-term care, and outpatient therapy. Erika has shared information at conferences regarding ethics, healthy boundaries, self-care, ethical decision-making, and she was the facilitator of an ethics committee.

Dr. Katie Stadther, PsyD, LP is a neurodiverget psychologist who specializes in pediatric psychological assessment. She obtained her doctorate degree in clinical psychology in 2018 from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Her training focused on the assessment of neurodevelopmental disabilities including autism, ADHD, and learning disabilities. Dr. Stadther is passionate about supervising doctoral-level practicum students and providing consultation and training to other professionals. She is dedicated to helping others develop increased understanding and acceptance of neurodivergent individuals. Dr. Stadther is always learning and adapting her practice, as she believes it is essential to be open to continual learning and growth to best serve our patients.