Representatives from the Hernando chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI, extended an invitation this week for incoming school superintendent Lori Romano to join the group’s leadership committee.
The leadership committee includes key community representatives in health care, business, law enforcement, education and mental health services, and works to help support the efforts of a community-wide mental health information and awareness program.
“As the incoming Hernando County Superintendent, I am committed to working collaboratively on priority issues that affect children in Hernando County so that each child can attain their full potential,” Romano said.
The committee held its first meeting last week.
Romano said her conversation with NAMI representatives touched on several key issues, including “alarming” statistics concerning the number of students requiring mental health services in the county, as well as a lack of funding for mental health services and new programs.
NAMI Board member Maureen Soliman said County Commissioner Dianne Rowden has been writing grants to help provide additional funding for mental health services in the county.
“How do we even begin to address the problem of mental health in this county? It’s all so interwoven,” Soliman said. “We’re focusing on the underlying causes of the other problems.”
Romano has a master’s degree in education, specializing in counseling and development from Auburn University, and also currently holds certification issued by the Florida Department of Education as a school guidance counselor.