The Inaugural Dallas County Youth Mental Health Symposium will take place this Saturday, July 8, 2023, from 10 am to 3 pm, at St. Philip’s School and Community Center, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75215. The focus of this Symposium is on mental resilience for youth and their parents as well as unlocking the barriers that have been ignored for so long between youth, parents, and educators. The symposium will provide an evidence-based intervention open forum conversation.  

The primary goal is to help youth age 10 to 18, thrive in a world where suicide has become a common occurrence, due to internal and external pressures, that are hard for them to cope with. The increase of suicides and mass shootings in Texas schools is increasing. Teachers are overwhelmed as well as overworked and students are crying out for help. It’s time that educators, students, parents, grandparents, other family members, and mental health professionals come together for a “real conversation” about mental wellness on an understandable level. The Symposium’s goal is to give youth a platform where their voices can be heard. 

The Inaugural Dallas County Youth Mental Health Symposium is sponsored in part by Dallas Businessman Roland Parrish, CEO/Owner Parrish Restaurants Ltd.  

COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Since December 2022, three Dallas County school-based educators Dr. Rekesha Carter; Dr. Brandy Dédé; and Dr. Veronica Cole-Yeo, have worked closely with Health Wise Lifestyle Public Relations Consultant Earnestine Cole, to create a meaningful event to bring hope and change to the increasing mental health issues in Dallas County. The findings of the Symposium, will be shared with the Texas State Legislature and the various Health  


  • Parrish Restaurants Ltd 
  • Health Wise Lifestyles 


  • All 14 Dallas County School Districts have been invited to participate. 
  • Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, whose “Okay to Say Patch Program,” that addresses the mental health needs of girls and the importance of having a safe space for them to talk about their feelings. 
  • Metrocare Services, the largest provider of mental health services in North Texas, serving over 55,000 adults and children annually. 
  • Crossley Psychological Services, opened in 2019 by Dr. Tia Crossley, a Licensed Psychologist and Licensed Specialist in School Psychology. She specializes in working with individuals, families, and couples with emotional and behavioral challenges. She also works with individuals with learning disabilities. Her mission is to empower others to be advocates for themselves and manage their mental health. 
  • Diagnostic Assessment Services Inc., is a team of experienced clinicians, who provide both in-person or virtual interventions. Services are offered for: Dyslexia, Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Counseling. Led by Dr. Natalie Davenport, the company has been a leader in the field of special education for over 30 years. For schools, the company provides assessment therapy services, professional developments, and staff training.  


TARGET AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION – ADULTS:                                                Informative presentations, skill-based presentations, and small conversational/work groups that include questions from participants and answers from mental health care experts.  

TARGET AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION – YOUTH:                                                        Focus Groups and interactive activities to relieve stress as well as build stronger relationships with their peers. 


  • Dr. Monique C. Foster – A Licensed Professional Counselor with over 19 years of experience. She is a psychotherapist in private practice (MCF Counseling & Consulting), certified life coach, motivational speaker, and a former talk show hostess for Quest2Purpose. Dr. Foster holds a PhD in management with an emphasis in Industrial Psychology, a Masters’ Degree in Mental Health, and School Counseling, and is a certified Clinical Integrated Mental Health Professional (CIMHP). She is also an ADHD-Clinical Service Provider (ADHD-CCSP). In private practice, Dr. Foster, cares for patients ages 3 to 75. She believes in educating and equipping individuals with building a healthy mind, body and spirit while strengthening their relationships. 
  • Robyn Flores – A licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC), and Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS). Ms. Flores has presented at several conferences nationwide and co-teaches masters-level Counseling Adolescents and doctoral-level Ethics and Neuroanatomy and Behavioral Medicine. She has extensive experience and training working with individuals who identify as neurodivergent (people whose brain differences affect how their brain works). Ms. Flores currently serves on the Texas Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (TAMFT) Education Committee. 
  • Dr. Monica Munoz – A Licensed Psychologist and Licensed Specialist in School Psychology. Having studied Psychodrama for 4 years, Dr. Munoz is passionate about utilizing and making experiential methods accessible to the populations she works with. Dr. Munoz integrates various styles to create an authentic, open environment to guide her clients into understanding themselves better. These styles include mindfulness-based, cognitive, behavioral, and interpersonal therapies. She believes these therapeutic styles are the key to making meaningful change. Dr. Munoz manages a clinic which serves the children and families of the Dallas Independent School District. She also runs a private practice, where she works with children, teens, and their parents.                                                           
  • Jamar Root – A 23-year-old Dallas, Texas-based top youth inspirational speaker, attended St. Philip’s School in Dallas and graduated from Bishop Dunne Catholic High School in Dallas. Jamar recently graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with a major in Sports Management. He started his own podcast during his sophomore year in college, called the “Root of Everything.” The show is a hit with teens, amassing nearly one million views across platforms. Jamar inspires students to find and live through passion to become successful. As the co-captain of his high school baseball team, Jamar learned the hard work it takes to not only play at a high level, but also overcome the natural pressures that come with being a student athlete and the true meaning of leadership as well as friendship. Jamar’s unique perspective on life comes from the struggles and pitfalls he endured in middle school, high school, and college. Diagnosed with Leukemia, Jamar uses all his experiences to help young students find their voice and be the difference on campus. 
  • Tamara Jones (A Mother’s Call to Action) – In the afternoon adult session, a wife and mother will share the experience of her child’s mental health issue and how she and her family are coping with it. A graduate of Texas A&M, Mrs. Jones has a Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. She holds a teacher certification to teach early childhood-6th grade, ESL (English as a Second Language), and Special Education. Mrs. Jones currently teaches for the Dallas Independent School District. She has worked with children for 15 years, which includes 10 years of teaching experience. She recently opened a private preschool.  


·        Causes of Mental Illness – childhood abuse; trauma; neglect; social isolation (witnessed because of the global shutdown during the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020 and 2021); loneliness; grief over the loss of a relative or friend; experiencing discrimination and stigma; racism; bullying/cyberbullying; social disadvantage; poverty; and debt. 

·         Texas has a higher prevalence of mental illness among youth and lower rates of access to care (Reinert M., Fritze D., & Nguyen T. – “The State of Mental Health in America 2022,” Alexandria, Virginia) 

·         Suicide According to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people between 15-34 years old in Texas. Treatment is increasingly hard to find and afford across the state, which has created a problem as the state continues to grow. 

·         An independent analysis of national insurance claims by Nomi Health shows that in Texas, Lubbock has the highest rate of suicide attempts for children between 6-17 years old, followed by San Antonio and Dallas. 

·         School ShootingsRecent Example of Mental Health Issues in Texas Youth – A student was arrested in a fatal shooting at a Texas school. The student opened fire at a Dallas-area school on Monday, March 20, 2023, killing one student and injuring another before being arrested on a capital murder charge. Source: Associated Press 

·         Mental Health Warning Signs & Identification 2nd Recent Example of Mental Health Issues in Texas Youth – Texas Teen Cesar Olalde, age 18, was arrested and charged with capital murder of multiple people after authorities allege, he killed his parents, Reuben Olalde and Aida Garcia, sister Lisbet Olalde, and brother Oliver Olalde, because he believed they were “cannibals” planning on eating him. Cesar Olalde was taken into custody on May 23, 2023, after a standoff in Nash – a small town near the Arkansas state line – that local police say began when they received a report of a man who had harmed his family and was threatening to kill himself.  Source: People Crime (Online) & NBC News) 

Contact: Earnestine Cole, PR Consultant 

Cell: 972-365-8340 Email: