Published on August 03, 2022

Ozarks Healthcare Behavioral Health Center to host Third Annual Youth Mental Health Workshop

The Ozarks Healthcare Behavioral Health Center (BHC) will host its third annual Youth Mental Health Workshop on Friday, Aug. 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Genesis Church located at 4549 Hwy. 160 in West Plains. This free workshop is designed for those in professional, academic, and/or private settings who work with youth on a regular basis and will provide education on the latest developments in understanding the intricate world of children's mental health.

The workshop will feature keynote speaker Dr. Jesse Rhoads, children's psychiatrist and Medical Director of Ozarks Healthcare’s BHC.

The workshop will include admission to the keynote presentation and choice of two breakout sessions:

  • “Autism: What You Should Know” presented by Dr. William Wright, Texas County Memorial Hospital
  • “Youth and Substance Abuse: Signs and Symptoms of Substance Abuse in Adolescents and Tools for Adults in Supporting Youth in Recovery” presented by Lexi Choi, FCC Behavioral Health
  • “Mental Wellness” presented by Amanda Foster and Katie Weathermon, Community Partnership of the Ozarks
  • “Problem-solving and Rapport-building with Parents” presented by Ronnie Harper, Ozarks Healthcare BHC

To register, visit Lunch and a complementary goodie bag will be provided to all attendees. Those interested in attending may also email Lorenda Roberson at or Becky Perez at for more information.

About the Speakers

Dr. Jesse Rhoads, Ozarks Healthcare’s BHC

Dr. Jesse Rhoads is a board-certified psychiatrist who treats adults, children, and adolescents at Ozarks Healthcare’s BHC. He attended medical school at Ohio University and completed a residency in General Psychiatry at The Ohio State University where he was the chief resident. After residency, he pursued advanced fellowship training at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. Dr. Rhoads holds several notable awards which include being named a “National Health Service Corps scholar” and the recipient of the “Henry Nasrallah Clinical Excellence award”.  Prior to working for Ozarks Healthcare, his research focused on the glutamate hypothesis of schizophrenia and the treatment of catatonia. His work has been published in the journals Brain Stimulation, Psychosomatics, and Schizophrenia Research. While at Dartmouth, Dr. Rhoads authored the chapter “Anxiety disorders in childhood and adolescence” in the textbook "Clinical Child Psychiatry." He is also certified in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Dr. Rhoads is the Medical Director of Ozarks Healthcare's BHC. He has previously served on the Board of Director at Ozarks Healthcare. He is consistently recognized by his patients and coworkers as providing excellent and patient-centered care. You can find his picture year after year in 417 Magazine recognized as “Top Doc.”

 Dr. William Wright, Texas County Memorial Hospital

Dr. William Wright completed his family practice residency in Altoona, Pennsylvania, after graduating from New York Medical College in New York City. He is board-certified in family medicine practice and has worked in rural private practice for his entire career, initially in Pennsylvania, Arizona, and for the last 20 years, in Houston, Missouri. Most of his practice has been concentrated in obstetrics and pediatrics. He retired from obstetrics nine years ago and became interested in autism. He studied autism with a group of primary care physicians in the ECHO Autism Program from the Thompson Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities and currently concentrates most of his practice in the diagnosis of autism and other childhood developmental disabilities. Wright has volunteered for a number of overseas medical mission trips in Africa and Central America over the past 30 years and also volunteers as the Medical Director of the Mountain Grove Pregnancy Resource Center.


Lexi Choi, FCC Behavioral Health:

Lexi Choi is a long-time resident of Howell County, Missouri. She is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) and has been involved in the Trauma Informed Learning Collaborative through the Missouri Children's Trauma Network since 2017. Choi currently works as a substance use counselor and activity coordinator at FCC Behavioral Health's Adolescent RISE Program in West Plains. Choi is passionate about helping youth make positive changes in their lives, including teaching and modeling positive coping skills for mental health and recovery from substance use.


Amanda Foster, Community Partnerships of the Ozarks:

Amanda Foster is a prevention specialist and firearm suicide prevention community coordinator at the Community Partnership of the Ozarks (CPO) in Howell County. Foster got her start in her field through a volunteer role with her involvement with the Howell County Community Coalition, or HC3. HC3 has worked closely with Community Partnership in substance use prevention efforts within the community. Foster has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and mental health awareness is her passion. What she loves most about being part of the CPO team is being able to put something good back into her community, and to do so while working for an organization that truly cares about the communities they serve. Foster’s work focuses on substance use prevention, with the goal of reducing use through education, mental health awareness, prevention programs, and by partnering with organizations within a community to work together to address these issues.


Katie Weathermon, Community Partnerships of the Ozarks:

Katie Weathermon is the Firearm Suicide Prevention Project Coordinator and a Missouri prevention specialist (MPS) at Community Partnership of the Ozarks (CPO) and represents prevention on the CPO Communications Team. She provides training and technical assistance on the science behind community-based prevention efforts and conducts various education programs and trainings for community coalitions and for the public focusing on substance use prevention, suicide prevention, and mental health promotion. Weathermon received her bachelor’s degree in psychology at Missouri State University (MSU) in Springfield, Missouri and is a certified youth, adult, and teen mental health first aid instructor. Weathermon is passionate about making a difference in her community.


Ronnie Harper, Ozarks Healthcare’s BHC:

Ronnie Harper is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) by the state of Missouri and works as a mental health therapist at Ozarks Healthcare’s BHC. His areas of treatment include depression and couples’ counseling. Harper is a lifelong resident of West Plains. He earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Arkansas State University and his Master of Science in Counseling from Missouri State University.  He has worked 16 years as a special education teacher, eight years as a school counselor, six years as the Dean of Students for the West Plains School District, and three years as a mental health therapist.  Along with Terry Hampton, he co-authored the book, “99 Ways to be Happier Everyday,” published in 1999. He has served on the Avenue Theater Board of Directors, West Plains Council on the Arts, and Avenue Players.  

Ozarks Healthcare is a system of care encompassing primary care and specialty clinics, along with complete rehabilitation, behavioral healthcare, and home health services. While the 114-bed acute care hospital cares for more than 5,400 admissions, the entire health system has more than 364,000 patient visits annually in South Central Missouri and Northern Arkansas. For more information about Ozarks Healthcare, visit

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Media Contact

For media inquiries, please contact:

Ozarks Healthcare Media Team
Phone: 417-257-6735