Continuing his “Community Conversations” issue discussions, Senator Jason Lewis is excited to announce an upcoming conversation he will hold on challenges in our communities pertaining to mental health and wellness. Held in every community of the district, “Community Conversations” are issue discussions delving into a different topic at each forum, with ample opportunity for residents to share feedback and have their questions answered by experts on the given topic. This upcoming event – Community Conversations: Strengthening Mental Health and Wellness in Our Schools and in Our Communities – will take place on Tuesday, December 5, at 6:30pm. The event will occur in the large meeting room at the Winchester Public Library, 80 Washington Street, Winchester, and is free and open to the public. Attendees will hear from: Joan Mikula, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health; Dennis Mahoney, Principal at Winchester High School; and, Dr. Barry Ginsberg, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at Lahey Health Behavioral Services. This forum will offer the chance to hear directly from experts offering a variety of perspectives on a range of mental health and wellness issues. Commissioner Mikula will discuss state priorities in addressing mental health challenges; Principal Mahoney will highlight trends among our student-aged population; and, Dr. Ginsberg will offer the healthcare provider’s perspective in identifying key challenges. There will be ample opportunity for Q&A from attendees. The forum is co-sponsored by State Senator Patricia Jehlen, State Representative Michael Day, the Winchester Coalition for a Safer Community, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness – Massachusetts (NAMI-MASS). “Confronting challenges around mental health and wellness can be difficult conversations, but are absolutely vital conversations that must be had to safeguard public health in our communities,” noted Senator Lewis. “I look forward to discussing with this distinguished panel how we can identify and address the challenges we face in our schools and more broadly across our region. I am also eager to hear feedback on this from local residents, as the conversations I have directly with constituents across the district are the best source of information and guidance to help me do my job in the legislature.” “Community Conversations” forums have been held in all six communities of the 5th Middlesex district on topics including: public education; public transportation; small business and entrepreneurship; challenges facing senior citizens and caregivers; veterans’ issues; housing; energy policy and environmental priorities; and, efforts to combat substance abuse and opioid addiction in our region.