At the League of Women Voters of Darien's annual meeting and luncheon on June 12, a panel discussion focused on "The Health of Mental Health."

Sixty members and guests attended the event at the Darien Community Association.

The discussion was moderated by Rosemarie Reardon and participants included state Rep. Terrie Wood, R-141; Larry Rosenberg, director of the Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut; Laura Autore, president and CEO of Laurel House, and Eileen Whalen, Darien High School psychologist.

The panelists addressed the topic from their particular area of expertise, but all agreed that the Newtown tragedy has made people more aware of and more willing to talk about the issue of mental health.

Wood discussed the state-sponsored programs with facilities and counseling for children seeking help. Whalen said the high school has become more aware of the problem and has developed a pilot program to meet with families with children who might have potential for violence. Rosenberg said the Child Guidance Center has developed training programs to help with kids in need but it needs more financing and more intensive services.

When asked what she would change in the present system, Autore said there was a need to hire more social workers and to encourage more people to take advantage of the services available. A lack of insurance and transportation needs are a problem for many who would benefit.

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The league also reviewed the highlights of the year and elected the board of directors for 2013-14.

This year's program began with a kick-off luncheon in September at which Gov. Dannel Malloy spoke about "The Importance of Elections and Voting." Other high profile events included the screening in February of a hard-hitting documentary regarding the gun industry and its lobbying efforts, co-sponsored by the Darien Library, and a spring brunch in April at which Scott Pelly of CBS News and 60 Minutes talked on "Balanced Reporting in a Biased Media." Other activities included the league's traditional Candidates' Night in October, the Legislative Coffees in February and the Town Officials Lunch in March.

The board of directors for 2013-14 are Gwen Mogenson, president, and Mary Genco, Martha Banks, Mary Flynn, Kate Larson, Ann Ferris, Mary Ellen Moore, Mary Genco, Mary Flynn, Nora McIlree, Gail Matthews, Karla Coe, Joyce Critelli, Betsy Shay, Molly Myers, Priscilla Wong, Liz Bacon, Sue Okie, Fran McGovern, Joan Davis, Deepika Saksena, Carolyn Bayne, Adele Conniff Dot Kelly, Marcia Meinerth, Enid Oresman, Vickie Riccardo, Callie Sullivan, Jean Sweeny, Barbara Thorne, Arlene Tulacro, Laurie Williamson and Martha Yaney.

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