Networking Luncheon connects mental health professionals

In a line of work where privacy and discretion rule, mental health practitioners can find it difficult to connect with others in their field.

Enabling local professionals to serve as a resource to one another was the goal of a Networking Luncheon hosted April 10 by Oxford Treatment Center.

“Since everyone has a unique area of clinical interest, it’s important to know how best to refer a patient or whom to call for consultation,” said Tom Fowlkes, MD, chief medical officer for Oxford Treatment Center. “Connecting professionals who represent a range of specialties helps all of us better serve our patients.”

The gathering at the Burns-Belfry Museum & Multicultural Center was attended by more than two dozen professionals from Oxford and the surrounding region. Those in attendance included therapists in private practice as well as representatives from clinics, nonprofits, and centers for mental and behavioral healthcare.

As each individual offered an introduction and described his or her area of practice, many affirmed the value of such a gathering.
“Sometimes a system is spinning in so many directions, it’s difficult to know who’s doing what,” said psychiatrist Bob Culpepper, MD. “This is a good start.”

Sharing insights

Elected officials attending the luncheon included Circuit Judge Andrew Howorth, who established the Third Circuit Drug Court based in Oxford.

Also taking part was state Rep. Brad Mayo, who led the charge for the adoption of a new law requiring insurance companies operating in Mississippi to guarantee parity in mental and behavioral health coverage. Billy Young, CEO of Oxford Treatment Center, offered the group an update on the parity issue and how changes in the law may affect their practices.

“It’s very important for all of us as mental health professionals to be informed, in order to ensure our patients have access to the care they need,” he said.

Through the gathering, Oxford Treatment Center was able to begin compiling a resource guide for distribution within the local mental health community.

The next Networking Luncheon is planned for the fall. To be added to the group, contact Rachel Powell at

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