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Panels Highlight Mental Health Law, Asian Heritage

Mental health law and Cambodian heritage were both on the agenda last week as Nonotuck Resource Associates celebrated Mental Health Awareness Month and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with a pair of informative panels.

The “Mental Health and Law Workshop with Bob Fleischner” on May 24 provided the Nonotuck community with an in-depth history of mental health laws in the U.S., including insights into present-day issues. Fleischner is a longtime friend of Nonotuck and has practiced disability law since 1973. A Boston College Law School graduate, Fleischner has litigated community integration, civil commitment, prison mental health, juvenile justice, guardianship and fair housing cases.

“Bob was terrific. He provided us with the stark reminder that not long ago there was no community-based system, and people with disabilities and their families had little or no options for support other than institutions,” says Nonotuck CEO/President George Fleischner

The “Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Panel” on May 26 provided a space for six Nonotuck staff members of Cambodian descent to discuss personal topics such as their journey coming to the U.S., religion, education and even festive Cambodian weddings. 

Sokphearum Touch, CM, Sochan Loch, RN, Kenny Seng, CM, Phear Ban, RN, and Samantha Chhrech participated in the panel, which was moderated by Saoling Chhit. All the participants are from Nonotuck’s Lowell office. “The speakers were able to share without any hesitation,” Chhit says. “{They} offered real-life experiences, and that is something you don’t always get from reading books, articles or watching TV. The stories told by the speakers were anchored by their heritage and pride.”

Nonotuck is planning programming in celebration of Pride Month this June. Stay current with Nonotuck’s community events through our Info Hub.


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