Chicago is Site for Major Convention on Mental Illness

NAMI 20th Anniversary Convention Spotlights Cutting-Edge Research, Children's Mental Health Issues, Key Public Policy Initiatives, and Commentary by Leading Health Care Experts

Jun 24 1999
Arlington, VA - Continuing the national dialogue beginning with the historic White House Conference on Mental Health, more than 2,500 national newsmakers, policymakers, best-selling authors, consumer and family activists, and leading medical experts in neuroscience, psychiatry, and research will convene next week in Chicago for the 20th anniversary convention of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI). 20th anniversary convention of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI)
WHEN: Wednesday, June 30 through Sunday, July 4, 1999
WHERE: Chicago Hilton & Towers
720 South Michigan Avenue


  • Dr. Oliver Sacks (Thursday, July 1, 9:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.) World-renowned neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks-author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Awakenings-will share his insightful and compassionate perspective on the treatment of severe brain disorders.
  • New National Study on Impact of Mental Illnesses on Families (Thursday, July 1, 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.) Exclusive release of a national survey focused on the ramifications of ignoring the needs of children and adolescents diagnosed with a severe mental illness.
  • Mental Health Courts: Real Justice in Treating Offenders with Mental Illnesses (Friday, July 2, 10:15 a.m. - 12:00 noon) More than 250,000 individuals with severe mental illness are incarcerated in state and federal prisons. What is being done to end the tragedy of criminalization and secure treatment for these individuals?
  • Bipolar Disorder Research and New Treatment Discoveries (Thursday, July 1, 7:30 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.) New study focused on the public's understanding of bipolar disorder, including discussion of relief from manic-depressive illness too often impeded by misconception of symptoms and treatments. New diagnostic tool also will be unveiled.
  • PACT Across America (Thursday, July 1, 4:15 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.) PACT (The Program of Assertive Community Treatment), a proven model treatment program that provides 24-hour-per-day care for those with the severest mental illnesses, will be discussed in the context of expansion and replication in communities throughout the country.
  • Fairness in Managed Care (Friday, July 2, 10:15 a.m. - 12:00 noon) An examination and analysis of the failures and successes of managed care in selected states throughout the country.
  • Bipolar and Depressive Disorders in Children (Friday, July 2, 10:15 a.m. - 12:00 noon) A panel of preeminent researchers and clinicians will offer the latest information in the observation, diagnosis, and treatment of early onset bipolar disorder.
  • Tour of the Nation's Top Research Institute (Friday, July 2, 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.) The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) will offer an innovative video "walking-tour" hosted by NIMH director Steven Hyman. The tour also will include interviews with the institute's leading scientists in their own labs and a visit to an inpatient ward where research subjects are involved in the advancement of scientific research.



  • Award-Winning Authors Nationally recognized authors Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D. (An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness), Jay Neugeboren (Imagining Robert and Transforming Madness: New Lives for People Living With Mental Illness), Martha Manning (Undercurrents: A Life Beneath the Surface), Peter J. Weiden, M.D. (Breakthroughs in Antipsychotic Medications), and others will be available for one-on-one media interviews and will participate in specially-timed book-signings.
  • Awakenings Art Show An exhibition of astounding and provocative art will be on display at the Awakenings Art Show, a program featuring the artistic creations of those living with a mental illness. The Awakenings Art Show will be on display in the Mobley Room, located in the lower lobby of the hotel. Viewing hours are: Thursday, July 1 (11 a.m. - 4 p.m.), Friday, July 2 (11 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.) and Saturday, July 3, (9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.)
  • NAMI Launches Campaign to Reform Nation's Mental Healthcare System The Omnibus Mental Illness Recovery Act (OMIRA) is model legislation designed to close the gap between what we know works in treating mental illness and the discriminatory policies that still exist. NAMI will announce its ambitious eight-component initiative at the opening plenary session.
  • Open Forum with JCAHO NAMI consumers and family members will have an opportunity to share personal experiences and offer procedural recommendations in an open forum held by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).



  • Genetics: The Search for Mental Illness Genes (Thursday, July 1, 10:45 a.m. - 12:00 noon) Experts will share the latest research designed to identify genes associated with mental illness.
  • Living With Schizophrenia (Thursday, July 1, 12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m.) Consumers will candidly discuss their personal experiences and strategies for living successfully with one of the most debilitating of all mental illnesses.
  • Ask-the-Doctor Sessions (Thursday, July 1, 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.) A perennial favorite among NAMI members, participants will speak directly with 15 nationally-recognized specialists on a wide array of topics including depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, dual diagnosis, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and mental illness in children and adolescents.
  • Research: How Far Have We Come? Where are We Going? A panel of research experts-including NIMH director Steven Hyman-will discuss scientific advances made during the past twenty years and projections for future research.


SYMPOSIA HIGHLIGHTS (Friday, July 2, 10:15 A.M. - 12:00 Noon):

  • Bipolar and Depressive Disorders In Children
  • Fair Housing at a Fair Price
  • Healing Through the Arts
  • Research Leading to Prevention of Serious Mental Illness
  • Suicide: Can We Turn Advancing Knowledge into Prevention?
  • Mental Health Courts and Innovations in Treating Offenders
  • Innovations in the Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder


WORKSHOP HIGHLIGHTS (Friday, July 2, 2:45 P.M. - 4: 15 P.M.):

  • Brain Research: From Knowledge Will Come a Cure
  • Creating the Public Health Agenda for Mental Health
  • Training Police Officers to Interact with Persons Diagnosed with a Mental Illness
  • Seclusion and Restraint Reduction in the State Mental Hospital System
  • Breaking the Silence: NAMI's Anti-Stigma Curricula for Grades 4 - 12


ADDITIONAL WORKSHOP HIGHLIGHTS (Saturday, July 3, 9:00 A.M. - 10:30 A.M.):

  • Family Advocacy in the Criminal Justice System
  • Developing Consumer Satisfaction Teams: Independent Entities Designed to Promote Managed Care Accountability
  • Educating Medical Students about Mental Illness
  • Spirituality and Mental Illness
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome: A Brain Disorder and Chronic Mental Illness