Tuesday, June 23, 2015

NAMI Releases Latest Annual Report

NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania announces the release of its most recent annual report, which highlights a year of significant planning and groundbreaking changes to better serve individuals and families affected by mental illness in our region. NAMI invites you to take a look at its "Commitment to Excellence" during Fiscal Year 2013-2104.  

"Fiscal Year 2013-2014 was a hallmark year for NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania. Two separate but equally important activities... enabled NAMI to forge a pathway not only to excellence but also longevity."  ~Christine Michaels, Executive Director

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

National Mental Health Awareness Month - Upcoming Events

Source: NAMI
May is National Mental Health Awareness Month and we're only a few days away! If you would like to add an event or activity to our list, please email dgarda@namiswpa.org.
Allegheny County

Allegheny Family Network’s 5th Annual Mental Health Expo
Journey’s Through Mental Health, Leveling the Field
Tuesday, May 5
Marriott City Center
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Day of Self Discovery 15th Annual Conference
The Art of Recovery Management
Friday, May 15
Herberman Conference Center
UPMC Shadyside Hospital

Senior and Disability Resource Expo
Friday, May 22
Pittsburgh Mills Mall
Begins 9 a.m.
For more information, email Amber Lepic at alepic@pasen.gov

Beaver County

Beaver County’s Annual Youth Community Day
Thursday, May 7
Beaver Valley Mall
3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Butler County

Butler County Walk for Mental Health
Saturday, May 30
Alameda Park
Begins 9 a.m.
$20 per walker
(724) 431-0069 or 724-287-1965
Presented by NAMI PA Butler and MHA of Butler County

Fayette County

Masontown Community Health & Wellness Resource Fair
Tuesday, May 5
201 Spring Avenue, Masontown
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Call Michelle Voithofer at (724) 583-1091 for information.

Chestnut Ridge “Keys to Recovery” Conference
Wednesday, May 6
Jumonville Retreat Center, Hopewood
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Call Marta at (724) 437-0729 x657 to register.

Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day Event
Thursday, May 7
Hutchinson Park, Pavilion 7, Hopewood
5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Greene County
8th Annual Greene County Recovery and Wellness Conference
Tuesday, May 19
Greene Arc Inc., 197 Dunn Rd., Prosperity
8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.
To register, call (724) 852-5276

Indiana County

NAMI- Indiana’s Walk to Raise Awareness
Tuesday, May 5
Indiana County Courthouse
Begins 11:30 a.m.
Call (724) 422-4718 for information.

Westmoreland County

19th Annual Families, Consumer and Providers Conference
Thursday, May 7
McKinniss Auditorium, Torrance State Hospital
Begins 8:30 a.m.
Call (724) 459-4604 or (724) 459-4482 for information.

The 2015 VBH-PA Mental Health Awareness Walk
Saturday, May 12
Twin Lakes Park, Pavilion 7
Registration begins at 12 p.m.

2nd Annual Mental Health Awareness Fair
Saturday, May 16
Westmoreland Mall, Center Court
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Conference Recap: Coverage Tonight at 5:45p.m.!

Don't forget to tune in to WTAE-TV Action 4 News at 5:45 p.m. to see Brandon Marshall and NAMI!

Anticipation in the ballroom of the Pittsburgh Airport Marriot was palpable on Saturday morning. Over 300 attendees awaited the arrival of Brandon Marshall as the morning keynote speaker of NAMI Southwestern PA's 15th Annual Education Conference aptly titled, Game on: Tackling the Stigma of Mental Illness. Brandon was met with a standing ovation as he took the stage, along with WTAE-TV news anchor and sports reporter Andrew Stockey.

For one and a half hours, Brandon, who is an all-pro wide receiver for the New York Jets, answered questions from Andrew Stockey and audience members about his diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, how and where he began treatment, and his outspoken advocacy efforts including the infamous $10,500 fine from the NFL for wearing green cleats during Mental Health Awareness Week.

Brandon insisted that you don't need a platform of thousands to make a difference with advocacy and the lives of those with mental illness. He credits the group therapists and clinicians at McLean Hospital in Massachusetts for their pivotal role on his road to recovery. He talked with candor about growing up in Pittsburgh, his family, his football career, his wife and newborn twins and, jokingly, why he could not play for the conservative owners of the Pittsburgh Steelers -- even though the audience cheered for and encouraged it.

He left the stage to another enthusiastic standing ovation and said NAMI's conference was the best speaking engagement of his life.



Following his presentation, Brandon interviewed with Andrew Stockey for a segment that will appear TONIGHT at 5:45 p.m. on Action 4 News. Don't miss it!

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was present and published an article on Brandon and the conference.


Prior to Brandon's entrance, stigma researcher and professor Dr. Otto Wahl of the University of Hartford gave an excellent presentation on combating the stigma of mental illness. "Stigma undermines the possibility of recovery," Dr. Wahl said.


In the afternoon, Dr. Dennis Daley of the University of Pittsburgh led an indepth plenary session on addiction as an illness.


A highlight of the day was awarding longtime advocate Connie Roman, one of NAMI Southwestern PA's founding members and a former board member, the coveted Dick Jevon Advocacy Award. Mr. Jevon, now retired, was present and also shared a few words.


Six simultaneous workshops closed the day: Ask the Doctor, Two Tales of Suicide Stigma, NAMI Smarts for Advocacy, Teen Social Media and Mental Health Usage Trends, Anxiety and Depression in Children, and Future Planning for Individuals with Special Needs.

Thank you to Value Behavioral Health of PA, pictured below with Brandon Marshall, for serving as our Keynote Sponsor of this event.

On behalf of the NAMI Southwestern PA staff, thank you to all of our board members, sponsors, exhibitors and everyone who attended!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Game On: Tackling the Stigma of Mental Illness

Only four more days until our 15th Annual Education Conference! Don't miss this rare chance to see All-Pro Wide Receiver and Mental Health Advocate Brandon Marshall as the keynote speaker.

Please see the agenda below, noting some speaker times have changed.

15th Annual Education Conference
Game On: Tackling the Stigma of Mental Illness
Pittsburgh Airport Marriott
Saturday, April 11
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.


8:00 - 9:00 a.m. - Registration/Continental Breakfast/Exhibits

9:00 - 9:15 a.m. - Welcome and Opening Remarks
Christine Michaels, MSHSA, Executive Director, NAMI Southwestern PA

9:15 - 10:30 a.m. - "Combating Stigma"
Otto Wahl, PhD, Professor of Psychology, University of Hartford

10:30 - 10:45 a.m. - Break and Exhibits

10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. - Keynote Address
"Stepping off the Sidelines: Tackling the Stigma of Mental Illness" Brandon Marshall, All Pro Wide Receiver, New York Jets Moderated by Andrew Stockey, New Anchor/Sports Director, WTAE-TV Action News 4

12:15 - 1:15 p.m. - Pittsburgh Style Buffet Luncheon
NAMI Southwestern PA Annual Meeting
Presentation of the Dick Jevon Advocacy Award

1:15 - 2:30 p.m. - Afternoon Plenary Session
"Addressing Substance Use as an Illness: Integrated Approaches to Treatment"
Dennis C Daley, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Social Work, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine - Dept. of Psychology

2:30 - 2:45 p.m. - Break and Exhibits

2:45 - 4:00 p.m. - Afternoon Workshops

Everyone in attendance will receive a green awareness band. Special thanks to Keynote Sponsor Value Behavioral Health of PA. This conference is open to the general public. Continuing Education Credits are available for professionals and educators. High school seniors and college students are welcome. Registration is required.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

An Invitation: Please join us on April 11 at the NAMI Conference

Dear Friends,
I invite you to join us for NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania's 15th Annual Education Conference, Game On: Tacking the Stigma of Mental Illness on Saturday, April 11 at the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott. 

Each spring, we bring remarkable speakers to our regional conference, and this year is no exception. Dr. Otto Wahl, an expert on stigma, will start our day and provide a solid overview in his presentation, Combating Stigma. He will include ideas and suggestions for what each of us can do to help end the stigma of mental illness.
With special thanks to Value Behavioral Health of PA, we will hear Brandon Marshall speak in his morning keynote address, Stepping Off the Sidelines: Tacking the Stigma of Mental Illness. Brandon Marshall's courage to speak out and take a stand against the stigma he and so many others faced will inspire us to take action as individuals and a community.
After lunch and the presentation of the Dick Jevon Advocacy Award, Dr. Dennis Daley will deliver the afternoon plenary session, Addressing Substance use as an Illness Integrated Approaches to Treatment. Stigma stops individuals from seeking treatment and impedes recovery. The stigma of mental illness is often compounded with the stigma of a co-occurring substance user disorder.
Then, our variety of workshop topics will offer something of special interest to everyone.

At the end of the day, every conference participant will leave feeling like they made the team, the NAMI Southwestern PA's All Pro Championship Anti-Stigma Team. GAME ON EVERYONE!

I look forward to seeing you at the conference.


Christine Michaels, MSHSA
Executive Director, NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Game On! Which Workshop Will You Attend?

All-Pro Wide Receiver Brandon Marshall | Source: Chicago Tribune
"Game On: Tackling the Stigma of Mental Illness"
Saturday, April 11
Pittsburgh Airport Marriott
8 am to 4 pm
In addition to Brandon Marshall, Stigma Researcher Dr. Otto Wahl and Addiction Expert Dr. Dennis Daley, the NAMI Conference offers six afternoon workshops from which to choose. See the list below to choose your workshop and REGISTER TODAY!  

Source: Medrabotnik

Workshop 1: Ask the Doctor

Individuals with mental health conditions and family members often have many questions that can't be quickly answered in a short doctor's visit. During this workshop, Dr. Curtis Mayernik will answer participants' wide variety of questions concerning mental illness while discussing effective treatments and supports that promote recovery and healthier living.

Source: Kater 4 Kids
Workshop 2: Anxiety and Depression in Children

Presented by Charma D. Dudley, PhD, FPPR, this workshop will provide an introduction to the manifestations of anxiety and depression in children, including a brief overview of their diagnostic characteristic features and various types of therapeutic interventions that can be used. A number of evidence-based practices with proven positive outcomes such as cognitive-behavioral therapy will be highlighted, in addition to other interventions - including relaxation training, development of social skills and effective medication management.

Source: SKAR
Workshop 3: NAMI Smarts
for Advocacy

Do you know how to tell your recovery story in a way that moves policymakers? NAMI Smarts for Advocacy is a popular hands-on training program that helps people living with mental illness, friends and family transform their passion and lived experience into skillful grassroots advocacy. Presented by NAMI Southwestern PA's Executive Director Chris Michaels and Associate Debbie Ference, this training helps participants understand why advocacy is so important for mental health.

Source: PAYSPI
Workshop 4: Two Tales of Suicide Stigma

The stigma attached to mental illness and suicide affects both those who are struggling (or have struggled) as well as those impacted by the loss of a loved one to suicide death. In this session, Jennifer Sikora and Kelly Robinson from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) will discuss how stigma affects these two different groups - illustrated by the speakers' personal experiences - and will provide specific communication
recommendations for help-seeking and grief processing.

Source: BBFA
Workshop 5: Teen Social Media and Mental Health Trends

This training, presented by social media expert Ryan Klingensmith, will raise the awareness of teen culture on the Internet and how adults can communicate with and educate youth to be responsible digital citizens. The presentation will review image boards, untraceable texting/sexting, Internet predators, gossip/rumor spreading sites, video chatting, blogs, eating disorders, self-harm and suicide. The most current social media sites, youth culture and mental health practices will also be discussed.

Source: Archer Law
Workshop 6: Futures Planning for Individuals with Special Needs

Families of individuals with disabilities face significant challenges in planning for their future and ongoing financial stability. The ACHIEVA Family Trust Futures Planning Project, funded through the United Way of Allegheny County, takes into consideration parents' concerns about their children's futures by providing an array of planning services and resources to families and caregivers. This presentation, presented by Maria Smith and Rebecca Tyers Brown of ACHIEVA, will include information about future planning, special needs trusts, powers of attorney, guardianship concerns and caregiver transitioning.

Register today and see you on April 11th!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Top 10 Reasons To Attend the NAMI Conference

Save the date! The 15th Annual Education Conference is swiftly approaching:
 Game On: Tackling the Stigma of Mental Illness 
Saturday, April 11
Pittsburgh Airport Marriott
8 am to 4pm
Are you still undecided on whether or not to attend? Here are the top 10 reasons why you should register now:
Source: Splash
1. Our Keynote Speaker
This will be All-Pro Wide Receiver Brandon Marshall's first time coming to his hometown of Pittsburgh to talk to the mental health community about his diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. He will also share his story about overcoming the stigma he faced as a professional athlete in the NFL. Don't miss this rare opportunity to hear Brandon Marshall and be inspired by his advocacy message!

2. The Program!
From beginning to end, our one-day conference will keep you engaged and interested, thanks to our phenomenal speakers, compelling workshops and other special presentations. Take a look!

3.  Renowned Stigma Researcher
How often do we get to hear from a stigma researcher whose focus is to study, write and teach about how stigma impacts those with mental illness? Fresh from the 7th International Conference on Stigma in February, Dr. Otto Wahl from the University of Hartford will join us and kick off the day with the most up-to-date information, statistics and ideas on "Combating Stigma."  

4. Continuing Education Credits
Those registering at the MH professional or Educator rate can earn the following CEUs: Counselors (NBCC), Educators (Act 48), Licensed/Clinical Social Workers (LSW/LCSW), Psychologists and/or credits for other healthcare professionals.

Source: ATTC

5. Addiction Expert
If you or someone you know has an addiction, you understand that it affects the entire family. Dr. Dennis Daley will join us to explain how the family can work together to face an addiction disorder. He'll present addiction as an illness, not a choice or a weakness, and help us to break down the stigma surrounding addiction.

6. Scholarships
Scholarships offset the cost of registration. There are plenty of scholarships available for:
  • Individuals living with mental illness
  • Family members and loved ones
  • Parents whose children/young adults have behavioral health issues
  • Students/young adults (recommended age: high school seniors and up)
To apply is easy! Contact Sara at slevine@namiswpa.org or (412) 366-3788 ext. 122 for information.

Source: CBS Sports
7. Raising Awareness
Our Keynote Speaker Brandon Marshall was fined $10,500 by the NFL for wearing green cleats during Mental Health Awareness Week. He took the opportunity to spread the word on every news station. Let's continue to raise awareness!

Source: Bleacher Report

8. Awareness Bands
To support Brandon Marshall's anti-stigma efforts, everyone in attendance will receive a green mental health awareness band, compliments of Keynote Sponsor Value Behavioral Health of PA.

9. Great Workshops
The hardest part of your day will be choosing which of the six afternoon workshops to attend.
  • Ask the Doctor
  • Anxiety and Depression in Children
  • NAMI Smarts for Advocacy
  • Two Tales of the Suicide Stigma
  • Teen Social Media/Mental Health Usage Trends
  • Future Planning for Those with Special Needs

10. Dick Jevon Advocacy Award
The presentation of the Dick Jevon Advocacy Award will be a highlight of the day! This will take place over lunch--the Pittsburgh-style luncheon that is a conference favorite!

See you on April 11th!