Note: This is a preliminary agenda subject to change.

Draft NAMICon Agenda (PDF version)

Sessions Overview

Here are some of the sessions you can look forward to at NAMICon in Minneapolis, MN this year.

Prescribed Psychedelics: Use ‘Em or Lose ‘Em?

Speaker: Victoria Harris MD, MPH

This session offers a summary of cutting-edge research regarding the use of prescribed psychedelics in a variety of mental illness settings.

Developing the Workforce for Crisis Response

Speakers: Leah Pope, PhD and Amy C. Watson

A review of the values and core competencies for Community Behavioral Health Crisis Responders to ensure they are prepared to provided safe, compassionate, and effective crisis support without law enforcement unless crime or safety-related risks are present. Learn about current crisis workforce constraints and how a competency-based approach can support workforce diversification and expansion.

How to Identify and Attract Corporate Partners

Speakers: Morgan Sills and Mary Sorensen

Are you looking to engage new corporate partners? By joining this session, you’ll walk away with an understanding on how to locate companies, how to distinguish yourself among competitors and how to best present NAMI in front of corporate prospects.

Beginning the Journey: How To Start a Mental Health Employee Resource Group In Your Workplace

Speakers: Douglas Brush and Stefanie Hoffman

During the pandemic, many companies created Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), providing community, education and advocacy, to address a growing mental health workplace crisis. This session will serve as a roadmap for employees looking to stand up a mental health ERG in their organization — from identifying a need and creating a leadership team, to holding difficult conversations with HR and legal to creating meaningful programming to effectively serving the mental health needs of a diverse workforce.

Competency Restoration: Identifying Barriers and Creating Change

Speakers: Sue Abderholden, MPH

The number of people deemed incompetent to stand trial due to their mental illnesses has increased greatly across the country. This has resulted in many of the state run hospitals only able to take people from jails, people languishing in jails, and a revolving door into the jails. Learn about the four-year process used in Minnesota to bring together stakeholders to create a comprehensive overhaul of the competency restoration system, which passed in 2022.

Lived Experience Narratives: A Lesson on The Healing Power of Storytelling

Speaker: Sophie Szew

This session will provide attendees with an overview of the benefits of creative and culturally responsive storytelling practices such as spoken word poetry, journaling, narrative fiction, oral history recitation, and memoir writing in mental healthcare. Learn about expressing one’s lived mental health experiences through storytelling to promote healthy identity-exploration and affect systemic change, while learning how to craft their own lived experience narratives.

From Tragedy to Triumph: Powerful Stories and Best Practices from Youth Suicide Survivors

Speakers: Sam Eaton, Francesca Reicherter, MS, and Tori Tobias

Learn new perspectives on suicide prevention from three Generation Z and millennial suicide survivors who each started their own mental health organizations. Drawing on their personal and professional experiences, learn their stories, treatments that worked for them, innovative ideas to overcome suicidal ideation, and how we can all work together to create a world with zero deaths by suicide.

Creating a Culture of Support: Mental Health in the Workplace

Speaker: Aleta Barnett

American workers are stressed out, burned out, and in need of help. While more workplaces are looking for ways to prioritize mental health, many executives don’t know where to begin. During this session, presenters will explain how NAMI leaders can use their personal and professional experiences with mental health to help companies address escalating rates of burnout and develop practices to support employees affected by mental health conditions.

Cultural Competencies: Lessons Learned From the Last Frontier

Speaker: Nick Hoefferle

This session establishes a baseline for cultural competencies focusing on examples from indigenous Alaskan cultures and from Veteran cultures.

Student-Athletes Facing The Hidden Opponent

Speakers: Dexter Hein-Harrison, Morgan Philliber, and Andy Saul

A panel from The Hidden Opponent will discuss the nonprofit’s mission to shatter the stigma surrounding mental health in athletics by educating, advocating, and supporting student-athletes. Our team will discuss The Hidden Opponent’s current programs, how to get others involved, and how to make an impact on campuses across the country. Attendees will also learn about challenges that student-athletes continue to face and why mental health is important in athletics.

I’m Not Broken; Don’t Fix Me: Disability Justice and Mental Health Care

Speaker: Abbie Shain MSW LICSW

This session explores mental health work in the context of justice movements around disability and inclusion. Beginning with a historical perspective, we trace the emergence of the Disability Rights movement, the social and medical models of disability, and the disability justice movement and how they impact/ed people’s experiences of mental illness, mental healthcare, and the changing role of providers in the healing landscape.

Flashpoint: Taking Action to Tackle Rising Rates of Mental Health Crises and Suicide

Speakers: Dawn P. Brown and Megan Rochford, PCC-S

Now more than ever, the NAMI HelpLine connects with people in extreme distress or who feel hopeless. Many reach out while experiencing suicidal ideation, during a mental health crisis, or panic attacks. Some express threats of violence to themselves or others. It is a sign of our times. During this session, you will learn how you can help or best equip your NAMI HelpLine with procedures, protocols, and training that address these serious and urgent needs.

Key learnings from Presence of Mind, a cross-sector approach to support youth mental health

Speaker: Gino Mortillaro, MD

There is a need for new approaches that support youth mental health by meeting them where they are, with messaging that aligns with ways they consume information. In 2020, Kaiser Permanente created Presence of Mind, the first mental health initiative embedded into pre-existing professional esports networks. This session will focus on: reviewing the implementation of Presence of Mind, discussing the need for tailored messaging, and reviewing lessons learned from a cross-sector approach.

Breaking Ground in Law Enforcement: The Mental Wellness Check-in Initiative

Speaker: Adrienne Augustus, MPA

In 2021, the City of Hyattsville Police Department launched a groundbreaking initiative: Every officer and dispatcher would be required to meet once a quarter in one-on-one, 50-minute mental wellness check-in sessions with licensed mental health professionals. In this session, the program developer will discuss how the Department launched it, the partnerships and funding required, and the hurdles, successes, and results after one year of sessions at this small Maryland police department.

Expanding Access to Mental Health in Asian American/Pacific Islander Communities

Speakers: Joann Francis, LCSW, MSS, MLSP, Felicia Luo, LPC, and Noel Ramirez

Responding to the heightened violence towards AAPI communities and limited culturally-centered practices focusing on the needs of Asian Americans, Mango Tree Counseling was created in 2020 to develop bridges to healing for Asian Americans in the Philly metro area. Insights will be shared regarding the unique needs of AAPI communities garnered from 20 free community wellness seminars, notes from group supervision, and reflection on case vignettes and AAPI text.

Law Enforcement’s Role in Behavioral Health Diversion: Knitting Together the Crisis Continuum

Speakers: Adrienne Augustus, MPA, Senior Lieutenant Allen G. Herring, Chief Paul Pazen (retired), and Ernie Stevens

In this session, a panel of law enforcement and NAMI partners will discuss local, innovative practices that respond to crisis calls and connect individuals to services and care in the community.

Youth Peer Support: For Young People, By Young People

Speakers: Marissa Howdershelt, BA, Emily Kim, and Kayla Tawa

This session will discuss best practices around Youth Peer Support (YPS), what policies are needed to effectively support YPS, and will give examples from states with strong YPS programs.

Data-Informed Workplace Mental Health Strategy

Speaker: Serena H. Huang, Ph.D.

A thought-provoking session on workplace mental health strategy. Dr. Serena Huang, a data analytics and HR executive with experience measuring workplace wellbeing in Fortune 500 companies, will inspire the participants to create effective strategies to improve employee mental health.

Lessons Learned from Mobile Crisis Response Teams

Speakers: Cathryn Nacario and Mary Woods

Our system is designed around crisis care- the most expensive and difficult type of care, which is damaging to individuals, families, and communities. San Diego has made substantial investments in early interventions while still building out crisis care. San Diego’s case study will articulate the successes of Mobile Crisis Response Teams, and why more state and federal resources are needed to integrate 988, develop an adequate messaging and education campaign, and address equity barriers.

C.A.R.E. Together: Discovering A New Way to Promote Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Speakers: Amy Durham, Austin Messick, and Edward James Portillo M.A.

Cultivating Awareness Respect and Empowerment (C.A.R.E.) Together honors and invites cultural awareness and promotes inclusivity through shared experience while reducing stigma that surrounds mental health. The program is intended to address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion that affect a NAMI affiliate’s local community. This session will teach affiliate members how they can adopt this presentation by outlining the mission, format, logistics, and how to deliver these presentations.

Nevada Success on the Frontline: How to Create Meaningful Teen Peer Support 

Speakers: Laura Yanez and Cherylyn Rahr-Wood, MSW

Learn about suicide prevention, the Nevada Caring Contacts program design, and the steps of implementation. The program was selected as a winner of SAMSHA’s Recovery Innovation Challenge in 2022.

Raising the Bar for Workplace Mental Health

Speakers: Bettina Thompson (she/her) and Siska Treacy, MBA

Leaders at global organizations and companies around the world have established workplace programs to improving employee well-being, setting a bar for workplace health. The future of work now depends on how companies can continue to raise this bar. Learn how Amazon is taking on the problems of mental health access, quality, and impact head on, and ensuring that all employees and their families have access to a range of mental health and well-being resources to meet their unique needs.

The Impact of Veteran Treatment Courts and How to Utilize Them

Speaker: Joel Ojida

Learn how and why Veteran Treatment Courts (VTC) were established. The will learn about the effectiveness of the court and its shortcomings.

RACE to Be Human: The Impact of Race and Racism on Youth Mental Health

Speaker: Scilla Andreen

A screening of the RACE to Be Human film, which explores the impact of race and racism on our mental health at school, work, and home through a diverse collection of youth personal narratives alongside DEIB expert, mental health professional, and educator voices.

The Rx for Well-Being: A New Framework for Enabling Holistic and Inclusive Well-Being

Speakers: Dana Rixter and Tyece Wilkins-Amadi

The Rx for Well-Being, a framework inspired by The Blue Zones, frames well-being with an inclusive lens, providing simple yet meaningful ways for employees to take care of themselves. The Rx for Well-Being focuses on three key areas:
MEDS: Mindfulness, Exercise (Movement), Diet and Sleep
Vitamin C: Connection, Compassion, Cash/Credit Comfort and Comedy
Vitamin D: Nature

BIZ X CAYR Network: Emergent Health Equity Youth Social Entrepreneurs in California & Our Community

Speaker: Desiré Johnson

Learn outcomes from a years-long dialogue and research project about youth mental health prospectives in California and how BIZ Stoop x CAYR Network fosters community transformation. Our organizational design, pathways to youth leadership, and campaigns to uplift youth led solutions will be highlighted in this session.

Successes in Behavioral Crisis Response: Unarmed, Trauma-informed Culturally-affirming

Speakers: Taylor Crouch-Dodson, MPP and Candace Hanson, MA, LPCC

Minneapolis Behavioral Crisis Response (BCR) is a team of unarmed, culturally responsive, trauma-informed mental health care professionals dispatched through 911 and operated by Canopy Roots.

Trauma Informed Care Best Practices for the LGBTQIA+ Community

Speaker: LaGenia Bailey, Pharm.D.,BCPP, C-IAYT

Lived experience of trauma influences all aspects of life. For marginalized communities, trauma happens daily. This session will help you understand the role of Peer Support and how to best utilize Peer Support Specialists as advocates for positive outcomes. We’ll also discuss how to work with your treatment team for compassionate and person-centered care.

I Want To Hold Your Hand – NAMI partnerships with Local, State and Federal Government

Speakers: Babu George Mathew and Ray Merenstein, M.A.M.C.

NAMI Colorado and its partners have been key allies, conduits and advocates for advancing mental health resources at every level of government. Learn how NAMI’s voice can be heard from local advisory councils to State legislators as well as Governor’s cabinet and Attorneys General to U.S. Senators and the White House. This session includes volunteers, staff and public officials that also hone in on efforts to ensure that persons of color, rural, and others often marginalized are heard.

Help for Families: Improving Care Coordination during Early Psychosis Treatment

Speakers: Melissa Dalhoe, MSW, LICSW and Anne Williams-Wemgerd

Past treatment interventions for early psychosis have largely been focused on individuals to the exclusion of family members. Innovative treatments such as NAVIGATE (coordinated specialty care) include family education and support in treatment.

Why We Didn’t Tell You: Learning from lived experience of those with suicidal thoughts

Speakers: Torry Bernard, Grace Grinnell, Steve MacHattie and Valerie Lepoutre, RSS

This session aims to reduce the stigma of suicide by encouraging frank, open dialogue about reasons people might have for not disclosing suicidal intent.

The Anxious Black Man

Speaker: Justin Banks

This session will highlight the socioeconomic disparities that block mental health treatment and education for black men in America. Through research and a first hand account of living with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, participants will see how triggers under the umbrella of poverty (racism, classism) have caused black men to be behind in regards to mental health intelligence, causing delays or even restriction with upward mobility in America.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
4301 Wilson Blvd #300, Arlington, VA 22203