’Mission Possible’ conference at SFA to address technology’s impact on mental health

’Mission Possible’ conference at SFA to address technology’s impact on mental health

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - If you find it hard to unplug at the end of the day, a mental health conference planned at Stephen F. Austin State University will focus on finding balance in a tech-heavy world.

The Mission Possible conference will focus on achieving that balance mentally and physically on a daily basis. The conference will also focus on how you can integrate the ideas into practice.

“There’s a lot of different topics, we have about 30 different presenters giving breakouts all day long,” said Kinnie Reina of Burke Mental Health Services of Nacogdoches. “We’ll be talking about balance, but then also we’ll have some stuff on internet security for kids, and then things on human trafficking and how that’s affecting us in the real world.”

Dr. LeAnn Solmonson, a professor at SFA, will give a presentation on mindfulness and being present.

“Being present just means being aware of what is going on around you,” said Solmonson. “You’re not thinking about what you did yesterday, you’re not thinking about what you need to do an hour from now; that you are present in the moment with whoever you are with in that moment and they have your full and undivided attention.”

Solmonson’s keynote speech is titled “Is your cell phone the new ADHD?" She said it begs the question whether smart devices have become such a distraction that people can’t fully focus on whatever they need to be focused on at any given time. Solmonson said it’s a problem of whether people can disengage.

“I think we’ve all been in situations where we’re having a conversation with somebody, or we’re out to dinner with somebody, and they’re distracted by their phone,” Solmonson explained. “Even now, my watch is connected to my phone and it buzzes any time I get any type of alert on my phone. And so, obviously, that’s a distraction to whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing right now.”

Speakers will also suggest how guests can take “mental vacations”, as well as the benefits of meditation, aromatherapy. and restorative yoga, all of which will be demonstrated during the conference.

“We all need to check out. There are times we need to check out and be disengaged. Checking out is not a bad thing," said Solmonson. “But it’s what you’re doing when you’re checking out and what benefits are you reaping by checking out at that point.”

“We offer it for... anybody that is interested, or has a loved one that deals with mental illness, you know, ways that you can them or help yourselves,” said Reina.

If you’d like to register for the conference, please visit the Burke Mental Health Services website for more information. You can also find the agenda and preview all of the different topics offered before the March 13 conference.

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